Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thanks for ruining my AP flow, Egypt.


Yep, there’s another thing to blame on former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.  Interruption of my Advanced Placement schedule.  Thanks to his lousy ability to simply run over the opposition, my classes have been riveted to the historical populist revolt that ended Mubarak’s autocratic regime…right during the Populist Movement of the late 1800’s in AP U.S. History.  Come on Hosni, let’s get some timing here.  Not only was my flow in APUSH and AP Comp Gov interrupted, two weeks ago was Exit Exams for the sophomores.  I don’t know about other Social Science classes, but my World History class would have probably stopped a second to examine this wee bit of new, important history. But just a couple of seconds.     

If there was one group that was hoping for a Tiananmen style massacre in Tahrir Square, it was the education “reformers” that love basing everything on Standardized Testing.  That way we could turn off the live feed of Al Jazeera and focus on those things that are really important, like the impact of QUANGO’s on the current austerity measures in the United Kingdom.  God forbid that real teaching take place.  I had an image of a Student’s First nut sitting there staring at the television screaming “What the hell!?  Doesn’t he realize that he’s a DICTATOR?!  And why are those students protesting anyway?  Shouldn’t they be studying for the EEE’s (Egyptian Exit Exams)?”

So we made, ok I made, a sacrifice of testing content for the sake of real historical importance.  College-prep Economics doesn’t have a standardized test, so that wasn’t a big deal.  But APUSH and AP Comp Gov have some serious time crunch issues.  The time we took to discuss Egypt’s revolution made it more difficult for me to get through time.  Do I regret it?  Absolutely not.  Let’s remember that the best students in Advanced Placement classes are those that do most of the studying on their own, making the teacher a greater support source for clarifying and focusing information.  For Comparative Government, Egypt becomes a relevant exercise in legitimacy, and the construction of government.  For APUSH…..well, it’s history.  The kids were riveted to Al Jazeera’s live feed as Mubarak announced that he wasn’t really going to resign, and the side-by-side picture of hundreds-of-thousands of people slowly rising in anger.  The thirty minutes of picture, reaction, and discussion were well worth the demand that the kids were going to have to know about William Jennings Bryant by using the textbook. 

When you throw in this next week off for a “ski week”, the rush to push knowledge into the heads of the Juniors and Seniors will be substantial.  So they might have to study a little more on their own to make up for the Egypt knowledge.  In my mind, real learning was happening, and they got to study real history in the making. 

And it isn’t over….

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