Friday, May 06, 2016


I'm starting this blog post at 1:09 am.  ONE OH NINE!

Tomorrow is Friday already, and I haven't written on this blog since Sunday so I am making myself write tonight even if only to prove myself that I can still write.  So here I am!  Still writing!

My students took the AP Literature test yesterday.  It's over!  They're done!  We're all free!

I was a bag of nerves, as per usual.  The test was set for Wednesday at 8 am.  My work days this week were Tuesday and Thursday.  Tuesday in class I asked my class if they wanted to do a breakfast Wednesday morning before test or if they would rather celebrate Thursday after the test with pizza.  They voted pizza.  Wise little souls.

Because of our pizza plan, I wasn't planning on seeing them Wednesday before the test.  It wasn't a work day for me- no need to go in.  I went to bed Tuesday night and was afflicted with a myriad of AP nightmares.  In one nightmare I was in the testing room with my students and only 17 of the 35 scheduled to test showed up.  The other 18 had gone awol on me.  In my dream I was running around sobbing and yelling, "Where's Chris Lilly?!  Where's Michael Jones?!  Has anyone seen Catherine Wang?!?"

I woke up at 7 am Wednesday morning from said nightmare in a dead panic.  My students were taking their test in an hour!  Would they wake up in time?  Were they nervous?  Would they be okay without me to lead them into the testing center?  (NO I WILL NOT BE CRAZY OVER PROTECTIVE MOTHER, WHY DO YOU ASK?!)

I tossed in bed for about an hour before I realized I just couldn't leave alone.  I grabbed June, who was just stirring in her crib, and we went to pick up some donuts.  The kids have one ten minute break in their test, exactly one hour in.  I stood outside their testing room like a damn fool (several teachers saw me, "Mrs. Larsen?  Why are you in sweats and a baseball cap?") with June in her footed jammies and as soon as the kids emerged for their bathroom break I whispered violently, "Go upstairs to my room!  There's donuts!"

They inhaled the donuts in record time and returned to their testing room abyss for a two hour/three essay marathon.  I was left by my lonesome in my classroom with June.  So I gathered up my baby in my arms and we went home, leaving my other 35 babies alone in the testing center.

I don't really know why I tell you all this except for that the morning of the AP test always feels really momentous and significant to me and I like to remember it.  It's like Christmas morning.  Only more stressful.  And less wrapping paper.  You prepare for it and think about it and work on it and hope for it and get excited for it and nervous for it and then all of  a sudden it's here.

Today in class my students told me they felt really good about the test.  Most said they thought the test was easier than they anticipated.  One student said almost accusingly, "Mrs. Larsen, you over prepared us!"  I was happy though because I'd rather have over prepared students any day than under prepared and having students emerge from a test confident and excited is one of the best teaching rewards there is.

Not all my students took the test.  I had eight students who didn't take it.  They were scared and didn't feel confident they could pass and didn't want to put themselves through $96 three hour torture.

Not all my students who did take the test will pass the test.  When the scores come back in July there will inevitably be some who are disappointed in a non passing score.


I'm really proud of all my little AP students.  They have worked their tails off all year for me.  We read seven books from September- May.  They wrote countless essays.  We annotated and analyzed until we were blue in the face.  I know there were times when they were frustrated and tired and didn't want to read 50 pages over the weekend.  But they did and they kept going and they pressed through.  They chose to take a more difficult class and get a B than the easier class and get an A.  They chose to grow and stretch and force themselves out of what is comfortable for them.  They chose a harder path without any guarantee of reward.  I don't think it's every day you meet 17 year olds who are willingly seeking out challenging paths and voluntarily doing extra work.  They are smart and funny and the sweetest gaggle of kids I swear I've ever met.

So yah.  I'm really proud.

In case you are interested, the seven texts we studied this year:

Lord of the Flies
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Catcher in the Rye
Pride and Prejudice
Slaughterhouse- Five

(The post I wrote last time my students took the AP Lit test is here.)

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