Correspondence

Student and Teacher Benefits

It’s nine o’clock on Tuesday.  First into the classroom today are my Advanced Placement European History students.  I begin the class, as I always do, with a prayer, and then deliver a lecture on such Enlightenment luminaries as Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Diderot.  (Given the irreligious beliefs of these figures, the irony of prayer is not lost on me.)  We next examine information on this same historical period in one of our textbooks, the Advanced Placement Achiever.  In the second hour, after a five-minute break, the students divide into groups of three and four to discuss and answer 20 multiple-choice questions from an Advanced Placement test preparation booklet.  When they finish, we review the correct answers to these questions, after which I return last week’s essays, ask for any reactions to the remarks I’ve made on their compositions, and go over the syllabus for the following week.

After a short break, the English History and Literature students file into the room.  To them I assign new vocabulary words in preparation for the SATs they will one day face.  I introduce Macbeth, which we will begin reading the following week, and we read through two of Shakespeare’s sonnets, one of which they will memorize in the next two weeks.  Switching to history, we review the main achievements of the monarchs of England from William I to Henry...

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