BARBER: Leave outside resources out of in-class lectures

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BARBER: Leave outside resources out of in-class lectures

(LUIS ELUMBA/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(LUIS ELUMBA/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(LUIS ELUMBA/EYE OF THE TIGER)

(LUIS ELUMBA/EYE OF THE TIGER)

RACHEL BARBER

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As the first quarter of my junior year draws to a close, I’m celebrating that I’ve only got one more quarter of my current four AP classes. However, I’ve discovered that there has been a common struggle within my courses of trying to balance a standard of preparation for AP exams and fully relying on outside resources to teach a class.  

I was born in the year 2000. I was raised on technology. I grew up learning with eReaders and interactive computer games, but not without learning the value of a teacher.

I’m a firm believer in standardized grading and ensuring that the same course should be mapped out in the same way, even if taught by different teachers . However, teachers shouldn’t use this excuse as a reason as to why they are using a powerpoint they found from a teacher in another state to teach their class.

As I write, I am referencing instances where students ask a question regarding the way information is laid out in front of them and a teacher has answered it with, “Yeah, this isn’t my test, powerpoint, worksheet, etc.” To me, this cannot be an excuse for improper teaching mechanisms.

I understand that a large part of the reason for the push to use outside materials in class is that some materials are made with the purpose of preparing students for an AP Exam. I commend teachers for using outside sources to achieve this goal. And I don’t believe this decision reflects any laziness or bad intent because outsourced materials can be utilized in a classroom successfully. However, there is a difference between using past AP exam essay prompts in class and per say relying on an out-of-state teacher’s webcam lecture on YouTube to teach the class.

I want my educators to be passionate and confident in the slides they’re reading from and understand the sentences on them because they wrote them – not because it was the first lesson that appeared on Google when they searched for anything that could help plan an effective lesson.

I also feel I am not alone in cherishing the importance of a human being putting the writing on a slide into dialogue for me as I listen to the lecture. I need anecdotes and analogies and things that make a presentation worth listening to. I hate leaving a lecture feeling that I could have skipped class and copied the slides from Google Classroom and gotten the same level of understanding out of it.  

Teachers, I am praising you for your ability to provide students with a greater understanding of a topic than a lone powerpoint ever could. But this praise is deserved only if you, yourselves, aren’t reading the slides word for word for the first time as you teach it to us.

To a degree, I understand why a teacher would want to call upon these resources. Some are of high quality and, I assume, make lesson-planning just a little bit less tedious. And in this case, my wish would be that after you find that John Green video or find that pre-written test on the chapter we’re covering, that you go over it and make sure that it aligns with the way you teach.

It should never be the case that a teacher ever sits back and leaves a video to cover a subject alone and moves on without ever commenting on it, period. It should never be the case that a teacher administors an outsourced test and doesn’t go over the questions. I want the material being used to reflect you as teachers so that you can be just as passionate when you’re teaching someone else’s materials as when you’re teaching your own.

Us students are not all the same and may not learn the same way as that out-of-state teacher’s students do. And from my understanding of the world, as you grow into an adult, people don’t lose their diversification. So in that way, people are not all like other people, students don’t learn like all other students and teachers are not like all other teachers. Ergo, sometimes a teacher relying on an outside source to teach their class ends up bad for both the teacher and the students.

I praise the teachers who connect with students, the material and get into their own teaching style. And I commend all teachers for taking those responsibilities on. But teachers should teach their own material or, if not, successfully teach outsourced materials.