In my five years of teaching I have had the great opportunity to work with some teacher who are very good at what they do. A lot of the teachers I respect moves teach AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Specifically AP U.S. Government and AP U.S. History. AP classes are classes that are challenge and prepare students to take the College Board AP tests. If a student passes the test with a particular score, numbered one through five (Five being the high score), they get college credit.
My respect for these teacher comes from the fact that they have to teach a large amount of content in a truncated schedule. U.S. History is the worst because you have to cover from the Colombian Explorations to modern American history. That is tough in a regular U.S. History class, but to cover it in the detail need to pass the AP test is a staggering accomplishment. That is why I suggested making U.S. History a two year course. With the second year being AP U.S. History. You can find my defense of this curriculum here. They also teach to a test which they don’t write. They have no idea what specific information will be tested upon during that academic year. Both of those are reasons why I would think long and hard before teaching an high school AP class.
Don’t get me wrong teaching the upper echelon of high school students would be an honor and a privilege. It is the restraints on me as a teacher which I would not like. If anyone knows me, they know that I value you my academic freedom as a teacher.
As an AP teacher I would required to teach to the AP test. A very large and national common assessment. I think we all know how I feel about common assessments, especially tests. All of my tests would have to be multiple choice test with essay components that line up with AP standards. But over the last few years I have experimented with several different assessment methods and found several that I like and that have been very successful in my classrooms. If I taught AP courses I would be unable to utilize them because they would not be getting students ready for the AP test.
I value my academic freedom as teacher more than I would enjoy teaching AP classes.