Two Years Later

 Blogging has obviously taken a back seat for the last couple of years.  As I sit here less than two weeks away from heading back to school for my 27th year in the classroom, a lot has changed for me since I last posted.

Two years ago, one of the math teachers at my school announced that they were changing schools. It actually doesn't happen that often in my building; typically people stay until they retire, but this was a move for a coaching position. It made sense.

What made this such a big impact for me was that this teacher was teaching AP Stats. I don't know what it's like in other buildings, but stats is a course that people didn't really want to teach. Give me Algebra 2? Precalc?  No problem. But stats is a whole different monster.  And so the course was back up for grabs, and no one was really jumping at it.

One of our assistant principals (formerly a math teacher) approached me and encouraged me to take it on. He thought I'd be good at it and enjoy it.  I was worried that it would interfere with me teaching CCP Precalc (my love) and told him I'd think about it. After a couple of visits, I told him I'd teach the course for the 21-22 school year.  (And I kept Precalc :) ).

So that was on my plate.

And then my department chair (who is awesome) announced that she'd be stepping down as department chair. She was going to teach one more year before retiring and thought it would be a good chance for someone else to be the new department chair with her still around for advice.

Honestly, I wasn't interested. I had already decided to teach stats and knew I had a lot of my plate. I didn't need something else, and I didn't need to be the "face" of the department.

Then my principal approached me. He said, "I need you to step up." (My first thought was, what have I not done?) We chatted about the position, he asked me to think about it.  And then I told him I'd do it.  As long as I was taken off a committee that I really didn't want to do. (Because I'm not dumb, I just have trouble saying no.)

So over the summer of 2021, I spent a lot of hours trying to figure out what AP Stats was. I attended an online APSI which terrified me; the last stats class I'd taken was in grad school around 2001!  But my twitter community is amazing; I had all kinds of offers of resources and help, and whole curriculums shared with me (thank you thank you thank you Shelli!). I was also fielding questions and emails that were department related, helping figure out how our new math curriculum and online resources worked, and welcoming a new teacher to the department.  It was a lot!

I think I worked more during the 2021-22 school year than I ever have. Figuring out, creating, teaching, and grading a new AP course that I wasn't comfortable with was A LOT. I had a book that I didn't really like (the class set is still sitting in the book room!) and honestly, too many resources that it was overwhelming.  But I did my best to figure it all out, merged Shelli's stuff with Stats Medic materials (check out mathmedic, calcmedic, or statsmedic if you're a high school math teacher!) to try and get my own style into it, and used old AP test questions in class to get the kids (and me) used to the format of it.

I was sooooo nervous on AP Test day.  But the kids (34 in stats that year) felt good afterward so I just silently worried until AP scores were released in July.  Not that one test means everything, but it's a lot!  Was my understanding of the standards appropriate?  Did I teach the kids the right things?

The answer was yes. (Phew.)  30 out of my 34 students scored a 3 or higher and therefore received college credit.  I was ecstatic. I knew I could then just tweak materials and not have to go back to the drawing board.

Long story short, I finished year two of AP Stats during the 2022-23 school year. I went from 34 students to 62 (2 classes to 3) and also taught Precalc and a section of Algebra 2. My principal (the former assistant) warned me that with that many more students the AP scores would likely decrease. 

He was wrong. Out of 62 students, 60 scored a 3 or higher. Twenty-two scored a 5. 😲

In two weeks I'll start again. This time I'm up to 73 students. I'm going to be realistic because I know that this year's results may not happen again. But I also want to be optimistic and think that there's no reason they shouldn't.

My plan is to be more detailed on how I approach AP Stats in future blog posts.  Hopefully it won't be two more years until I come back to it!