Thursday, June 17, 2010


OK, I've been laying out recently and haven't posted or commented much for a while. I apologize, but yes, I have excuses. The end of the school year has come and gone and that's hectic as heck what with exams and grades. Mine is a little more hectic because I have to prepare my grades and exams early because I read Advanced Placement essays in Louisville for seven days, causing me to miss the last week of school. Thankfully, I have a great friend and fellow conservative teacher who graciously enters my grades for me in the school computer. Last, but not least, we began conditioning sessions for our high school girl's soccer team that I coach.


The essay grading for Advanced Placement US history is quite a process. Over 1200 AP US history teachers gather to grade essays for a week every year. Over 300,000 students took the AP test this year. The test consists of three essays, and 80 Mutiple Choice questions answered in 55 minutes. The multiple choice questions are graded by computer. Each student writes three essays. Two are free responses in which the student is given a question and required to write an essay to answer that question based on the knowledge the student possesses about that question. I'll link the essay questions from this year's test. The other essay is a Document Based Question (DBQ) in which the student is given parts of several documents to use as a reference to answer the question. The student must include a preponderance, (rule of thumb: half plus one) of the documents to answer the question.

The essays have to be graded by trained teachers who read them. It is a very taxing process in which we read from 8am-5pm, with an hour off for lunch. All teachers read for six days. It's something like a death march. Most of the free response essays are in the page and a half to two page range. The DBQs are in the multiple page range, mostly 3-5 pages. I read over 1,080 essays. I did my part. Two teachers at my table read in excess of 1,700 essays. All in all a lot of work, but a great training experience. As for the scoring, a "9" is the highest grade on the scoring rubric. Of the over 1,000 I read, I scored two 9s, ten 8s, and a lot of 7s, 6s, and 5s, all good scores. A lot were in the 2-4 range, not so good. Read the questions and see how you would do. They are extremely difficult.


I've coached soccer for way past 25 years. My coaching began with the CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) when my son began playing 30 years ago. I learned about the game along with him. I began coaching high school girls in 1992. When my daughter started high school I started as an assistant coach of her team. After she graduated, I continued on until I started teaching at a rival high school. I eventually became the head coach at my school and started another season on Monday, June 14th. I love the job, but the head coach is responsible for everything that goes on and it's a lot and is very time consuming. Luckily the salary is overwhelmingly high. Insert sarcasm.

I'm convinced that if you are coaching for the money, you're doing it for the wrong reason. I love coaching kids and I believe in the lessons sports has to offer to them. I've made many friends in sports and many players have become great people and communicate frequently. That's all that really matters to me. I'm blessed with great assistants who are knowledgeable and passionate about coaching kids. In this day and age when youth sports are often under fire for parents and coaches who are out of control, there is much that is good about youth sports and I remain dedicated to it.

That's what I've been doing with my summer.


Brooke said...

As long as there aren't any of those vuvuzelas at your games. ;)

Law and Order Teacher said...

I would be really happy if that were the case. I hate those horns. I miss the songs and the chants from the various countries. That's destroyed the atmosphere. Thanks for visiting.

Z said...

I read ONE essay answer and it was so ridiculously indoctrinated-liberalness that I couldn't read more...ugh!
I remember now you did this last year...glad to have you back!

Law and Order Teacher said...

You learn to go by it and read for facts. I grade them on their grasp of facts and not their spin. I had an interesting confrontation with a clerk in Barnes and Nobles bookstore. Way back when Larry Schweikart wrote a "Patriot's History" I bought the hardback, autographed version.

I showed my teacher discount card and said "yes" when he asked if I was going to use it my classes. He said, "That's pretty one-sided." I looked him in the eye and I said, "I teach facts, I don't teach spin. Facts are facts and the spin doesn't matter. This book is facts. Zinn's book is spin." He got flustered and said, "I hope you teach both sides of things." I said, "There aren't both sides. Facts are facts and that's the only side." He stared at me, rang me up and I walked out. Bam.

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