Dear AP Biology,
All year long I've asked you to write for me on a weekly basis. Much of the motivation behind the assignments was just to get you writing, because the only way to become a better writer ... is to write. Other times the purpose was to get you to reflect or make connections. Most frequently though, I was trying to get inside your head. To figure out what makes you tick, what you enjoy, what helps you learn, what makes you curious,what motivates you to work. I do not lie when I tell you that I would always make reading your blog posts the first priority on my "to-grade" list because I genuinely enjoyed hearing what you had to say. So, after having you write a final post about your year with me, it only seems fair that I write about my year with you.
We had a rocky start ... never before have I missed the first three weeks with a class. In my mind those first weeks are critical because they are the time during which norms and expectations are set. I find out what you are like and you find out what I am like, and the tone is set for the year. But we missed all of that. Your first interactions with me were grainy videos from the hospital and daily, online modules. I deeply appreciated the way that you took to the work. After the first week I knew that we were going to get along just fine. All of your work was getting turned in in a timely manner and with a great deal of attention to detail. Also, I could tell that you were already starting to bond as a class. Which, I must admit, was a little surprising. Looking at my roster I was sure that there were going to be some interesting relationships.
Those interesting relationships have been my favorite thing about this class. Yes, you have worked hard. You've dove deeper into the material than any class I've ever taught. You learned to tackle and process data. Design experiments. Write lab reports. Ask scientific questions. Take hard tests. Create on the spot. And produce solutions to complex problems. Not to mention the fact that most of you gave me your very best effort all of the time. Which is not something that I've always been able to say of a class. I watched you have fun and enjoy my class. Play music and act ridiculous. Sing, dance, and tease each other. It was water to my tired, sleep-deprived soul when I heard you say (when you thought I wasn't listening) that AP Bio was your favorite class. But most of all, I loved the relationships. I loved having the chance to answer all of the ridiculous, personal questions and get to know each of you through the stories you would tell me on a daily basis.
In many ways you guys became like a little, mostly-functional family. You knew one another's strengths and weaknesses and supported each other when the going got rough. Rarely did I see you just drop one of your colleagues. Rather you stood one another up, sent reminders, poked and prodded, and made sure that the job got done. That was my favorite thing about your class. You took care of one another.
You also took care of me. Whether I walked into class rested and ready to go or exhausted from an all-nighter with Misha, I could always trust that you would do exactly what I asked of you. I was sure that, so long as I had a plan in place, the class would move forward. Whether you liked it or not, all of you become incredible, independent learners. I appreciated all of the questions about me and my family and how all of us were doing. I loved the remarks when a picture of Misha would randomly pop up. And I felt supported as I tried to push you harder than I've pushed any AP class to date.
So, I will be crossing my fingers and saying a prayer for each of you as you transition on to the next phase of life. Some of you I am excited to see in class again next year. Others, I can't wait to hear of what you do outside the doors of CMA. Regardless of the scores that come back in July, I am proud of each and every one of you. You did it, whether it was your first go around or your fifth you survived AP Biology with Mr. Kite, and I think you may have even enjoyed it. I know that I did. Enjoy your summer!