By Umar Samdani, Co-Managing Editor As an AP student, I am struggling. The various sources of said struggle can be statistically represented by a pie chart. Fifteen percent stems from the mental exhaustion of attending virtual school for six hours. Another 20% can be attributed to the extensive commitment that is expected from these challenging...
By Umar Samdani, Co-Managing Editor
As an AP student, I am struggling.
The various sources of said struggle can be statistically represented by a pie chart. Fifteen percent stems from the mental exhaustion of attending virtual school for six hours. Another 20% can be attributed to the extensive commitment that is expected from these challenging courses outside of the classroom. The final 80% comes from taking notes from a monotone AP Daily teacher whose math is just as good as mine.
Over the course of the past school year, the College Board has released instructional videos for 32 offered AP Courses. Logging on to the AP Central platform, students can access a plethora of videos that provide brief overviews of topics they learned in class. Like flossing, these videos are simply supplementation; teachers are encouraged to give personalized instruction and then assign a set of AP Daily videos for homework. Also like flossing, no sane student ever completes the task. The ten-minute quasi-crash course videos are impersonal, repetitive and simply painful to watch.
Whether it be AP U.S. History, AP Physics or AP Spanish Language, the College Board guarantees that every teacher starts their videos with “Hello. My name is [insert name here] from [insert unrecognizable city here], and I’m excited to be here with you today.” Even without taking AP Psychology, the student knows that the teacher on the screen is not telling the truth or is getting paid.
It is evident within the first five minutes that these teachers are experts at neither public speaking nor effective delivery. Even if they were, they hide their talents by speaking directly off of slides that they have evidently never seen before. The instructors stumble over their words, pause to regather their thoughts and even give information that contradicts what the slide details.
Because the College Board prides itself on transparency, it refuses to edit these bloopers out of the final product. For entertainment, viewers can enjoy teachers reading over slides twice and awkwardly waiting for their computer to load.
The largest problem with the AP Daily videos is the explicit lack of enthusiasm these instructors convey. Their mannerisms make it painfully obvious that they don’t want to be teaching, and this attitude has a negative effect on the listener. As a student who already finds certain AP classes unnecessarily dry, seeing a teacher share a similar level of interest is off-putting.
Yes, these videos are an improvement from previous years when the organization did nothing other than drop a test on our desks in May; however, this improvement is marginal. If the College Board truly wants to improve, it needs to start acting like an older brother, not Big Brother. The quality of the videos should take precedent, not the quantity. Most importantly, it needs to recruit teachers who are truly passionate about the work they do. That way, the AP exam can be a year-long experience and not a day-long test.
Umar Samdani can be reached at [email protected]
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