I'm trying to get back into posting. I've been gone a long time, but I think it's time to get back to it. So I'll reopen my blog and begin to get writing again. I want to acknowledge "Z" for keeping me advised, engaged, and feeling that I wanted to write again. Above all she encourged me to write and I thank her for that. I feel that I have so much to say.
For the past few years I've been a reader/grader of essays written by students who have taken the Advanced Placement U.S. history test every year. I was thrilled to be chosen for this job years ago and I've eagerly went to Louisville to read them each year.
This year my colleagues and read about 1.25 million essays over a seven day period. I personally read over 1,500 essays. At times it was mind-numbing, but there were those gems that perked you up. What was really the best about the experience was the comraderie I experienced with my fellow teachers. There are some really dedicated teachers and they are a joy to talk to and I learn from each of them. Of course, there are some that make you scratch your head.
I got into an argument with one about Romney's Mormonism and the fact that he shouldn't be elected over Obama because of his religion. Open-minded?
I want to report that there are students who just get it. I read essays that made me wince, made me laugh, made me want to cry, and a lot of them made me feel great about the future. I wish I could say that all of them were insightful, but alas, that's not true. I was distressed to see that the biases of some teachers shone through in their students essays.
All you had to do was read them and look at the school code on the test book. Same statements, same school. Not good. I spend each day suppressing my biases and teaching the facts to my students. I don't want to tell them what to think, I want to teach them to think.
Let's try an experiment. I'll link the website of the College Board and let you read the essay questions the students answered. Can you answer them?