I’m not typically known as the mean teacher. It’s been about 10 years since I kicked off my teaching career, and most of my students still see me as a fun teacher who can learn them some math pretty darn well. But for some odd reason, in AP circles, I’m the teacher that will make you cry. I don’t do it intentionally. I just feel that if you’re going to take an AP course, thereby being graded on a 5.0 scale, it should be none too easy. Besides, if I don’t challenge these kids to improve their writing, think critically, and to be as specific as possible about their answers, they’re not going to do very well on the AP exam. Shouldn’t they get the credit for college if it is well within their ability? So, it’s a tough course. And I don’t put up with any laziness/I don’t wanna do this/senioritis bullshit. You’re here, your’re working, or you’re failing. End of story. Not a typical AP Student? You’d better catch on quick to the way AP works, because I don’t wipe asses.
Last year, I broke an old record. Typically it is the topic of experimental design which is chapter 5 that has students running out of my room in tears. It is just a difficult concept if you’re not used to thinking mathematically about concepts that are non-mathematical. I mean I think it is easy, but many students just struggle with it. No matter what I do, there are people that you just can’t get into the statistics mindset from the very procedural and concrete maths such as algebra and calculus. You just have to give them the concepts, give them the chance to apply these concepts in class, and just hope it gels. In AP Statistics, you can’t spend forever on a topic. You gotta do it and move on. But last year, I got someone long before chapoter 5 – I actually broke someone during chapter 2. While I did feel bad for the girl, a small part of me was actually impressed with myself. “I’ve definitely stepped up the rigor!” I thought. However, today’s tears made me feel far less triumphant. They didn’t occur as early as last year, as I didn’t get tears until the chapter 3 test, but it was the nature of the tears that really has me feeling like a total prick. It was the fact that the tears came from a different type of person from which I have ever provoked tears.
This year, I made a dude cry. A dude! I have NEVER made a dude cry. I just don’t know how to handle it. I mean I always feel bad at least for a little while when a girl cries, but I have had many girlfriends in the past that for whatever reason I’ve made cry (you can tell…) In addition, many young ladies I have known (exes and females students alike) have used tears as a manipulative tactic, so I am a little bit desensitized to it.