The battle lines were drawn early…them vs. me. When I saw this was how it was going to go down I was concerned. We should have been playing on the same side, me as their leader showing and directing them through the difficulties. Instead it was a bloody war with tears, fighting, resistance and some unavoidable failure.
I know when I sometimes begin a new challenge I get both nervous and excited at what is going to take place and really embrace the challenge. However, sometimes I can just as quickly dig my heels in and becoming stubborn and un-teachable.
My little analogy above is a brief description of my AP classes this year. Most of the students decided to fight against me this year and it was difficult for all of us. This is the last week of school and as a result the students have had time to reflect on the past year, think about their mistakes and make new resolutions for how they are going to change for the next year.
For the last three years I have not been around the final week of school. I have been reading AP World History exams. This year the reading doesn't begin until next week and so I finally get to say my goodbyes and hear their regrets.
In a study done by Elliot Aronson and Judson Mills, they discovered that “persons who go through a great deal of trouble or pain to attain something tend to value it more highly than persons who attain the same thing with a minimum of effort.”
This has always been the consensus of AP World History. My aim has never been to create the most difficult and demanding class around, but the nature of the topic, depth of coverage, time available to teach and the relative immaturity of the students taking the class have created a class that is very hard.
Today the battle ended and the amusing thing is the student’s presented me with a huge thank you card and even flowers (a first!). It was sweet of them to finally recognize that I wasn’t against them, but I wish they could have seen that sooner.