Navigating the Ides of May



The apparent lack of coordination in class workload between AP and non-AP classes during the May exam tide flusters students and can send mixed signals to teachers. It leads to a stress-saturated period for the community, which could be relieved by making all involved more aware of the problem, and instituting a few simple changes.
As AP classes approach their mid-May climax, there is a rush to both finish the curriculum while also prepping for the imminent exam. Meanwhile, non-AP classes seem to be oblivious to what’s happening in the AP classes, and continue to move at a rapid pace, with homework piled on thick and fast. There seems to be disregard from teachers towards the heavy workload students have at this time. Of course, students care about doing well in all their classes, AP and non-AP alike, and being overwhelmed on two fronts simultaneously creates anxiety and tension among both students and faculty.
It would be a welcome development if teachers and students had a forum to consult over assigned work leading up to and during the mid-May AP weeks. The current policy regarding APs is that, if you have an AP exam, you’re excused from the rest of your classes that day, but not from the homework assignments in those classes. Perhaps the inverse policy, requiring students to attend the classes but exempting them from homework, might be better in terms of helping AP students cope with the situation.
Even more important, it would be helpful if the two weeks of AP exams could be dedicated to studying for them. With advance planning, there should be adequate time during the school year for heavier homework assignments and exams to make room for a quieter time in non-AP classes in the couple of core weeks in May. This is not to say that student work ethic or enthusiasm for non-AP courses isn’t as high as it is for APs; this is just an issue of timing. Hopefully, with a few minor adjustments, we could see a marked improvement in peace and serenity in our ASL community, and we can make it safely past the Ides of May.