As Advanced Placement Exams are approaching at Camas High School, many students and teachers are beginning to prepare for them. However, with the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has created many obstacles for both staff and students.
With the limited amount of time that the remote learning schedule provides for student and teacher interaction, many teachers have felt disconnected with their students.
CHS AP Art Teacher Heidi Keith said, “Our biggest challenge is the lack of time together as a class.”
Other teachers found that it was easier to reach out to students since there were so many different approaches that could be implemented.
CHS AP World History teacher Jeanne Jarvis said, “Surprisingly, with all the technology, it’s pretty easy to reach out (to students). There are so many different ways to do that. What’s difficult is that I don’t know my students nearly as well as if they had been here in person the whole time. Now that hybrid is starting, we’ll have to make up for lost time!”
Since science is all about hands-on experience and learning, many AP science teachers have been struggling to conduct labs for their students in a way that would help them grow.
CHS AP Environmental Science teacher Jennifer Roberts explained that the main challenge of remote learning was completing labs. The College Board requires that 25% of time in AP Environmental Science classes must be spent with labs.
Roberts said, “I’ve really had to change my expectations and approach to investigations, instead of open-ended inquiry, and modify most labs to have more detailed instructions and set-ups depicted visually.”
CHS AP Chemistry teacher Kathryn Carmichael said, “I’m trying to prepare the students as ‘normally’ as possible. It is hard (to reach out to students) with less class time to do practice questions and not get instant feedback from students where they are struggling.”
CHS AP Biology teacher Cory Marshall said, “We are still in the part of the year where we fold AP exam practice into the curriculum. We do essays designed to model the actual AP exams and ask lab questions that will mimic the procedures that students will have to demonstrate.”
He added, “Trying to recreate a secure practice testing environment has been the biggest difficulty this year. Students preparing for a rigorous exam need the opportunity to struggle before the day of the test. Those struggles will really help students see what progress they’ve made.”
World language classes involve a ton of speaking and it is critical the students are able to interact with their peers, especially with AP courses.
CHS AP Spanish teacher Jill Cuellar said, “I take time to support their conversational skills with time to talk and practice using AP content or themes in Spanish in Breakout Rooms.”
Many students have been struggling to stay motivated and focused while learning at home.
CHS Sophomore Taylor Redmond expressed how working at home had diminished her work ethic, making it harder to find motivation to study more often.
CHS Sophomore Mia Parnell said, “All I’ve been doing to prepare for AP exams is doing my work. It’s been more difficult because it’s easier to procrastinate.”
Some students have been taking the extra time given with remote learning to study on their own.
CHS Sophomore Reese Fidler said, “I am taking AP practice test every week to successfully prepare for the AP World History exam. Studying at home has been more difficult because it is hard to completely focus.”
CHS Sophomore Chao-yu Lin said, “I am self-studying for the AP Psychology exam. It has been hard to motivate myself as much compared to previous years because there is a disconnection between me and some of my study materials.”
CHS Sophomore Minami Eigelberner said, “I haven’t been preparing on my own for the AP exams yet, but it has become more difficult to study with the pandemic because it is harder to ask my teachers and classmates questions.”
Given the difficult situation with the pandemic, AP students and teachers have been able to come up with creative solutions in order to adjust their learning style.