COVID-19 pressures AP classes

Nick Felides, A&E Editor

As 2020 goes on, school seems to be getting tougher and tougher for students and teachers alike. There are still some students that have decided to stay online due to the ever-threatening COVID-19 crisis. AP exams seem to be right around the corner as spring quickly approaches, and teachers are rushing to prepare their students for challenging sets of exams. Tyler Darr, junior, an online student, explains his recent struggle with one of his AP classes.

“I think one of the harder parts of being online is getting help,” Darr said. “Emailing and messaging teachers isn’t really a guarantee because they’re busy with the in-person students and I rarely get to actually talk to them.”

It’s well known that teachers have been struggling the most with this massive shift, having to prep the Zoom call every morning and afternoon for online kids, making sure they can hear a lecture and see what’s happening.

“I always forget that I have to talk louder for my online students,” said Melissa Mara, AP science. “I’ve been trying to prepare them as best I can for the exam.”

Seeing as there are so many students working from home, there’s bound to be some that will falter and slip up on their grades. With kids being at home, they don’t have to worry about paying attention in class, so they start to slip up on their work. 

“I’ve noticed a bit of a decline in grades. Of course there are those with hundreds of quizzes that are either cheating or they actually know the material, but there are some students where you can just tell that they’re struggling and I can’t even do much,” Mara said. 

AP classes are meant to be academically challenging classes taught on campus, and the idea that all of the learning through two semesters is built into one test can be daunting for many students. 

“This is my first year taking an AP class and doing it online is way harder than I expected,” said Sara Dessegberger, sophomore. “I feel like the units are going by way too fast and I just can’t process all of that information.”

Teachers and students alike struggle with the mountains of online work that need to be done and graded. This leads to less personal time for exploring hobbies because of the hyper-focus on school work. 

“I have far less time than I typically would on a normal year,” Mara said. “But it’s incredibly satisfying when I get to sit down and relax and just enjoy myself.”

As of right now, AP College Board is still planning for all AP exams to be on paper, as opposed to it being online like last year. “I really don’t want to rush through any information. I’m trying to be… methodical and slow with how I give information to my students,” Mara said. “This test is huge and contains very hard skills to master… this time around, we’re all learning together.”