From 8:45am-5:30pm Kat and I were hard at work on our AP Lang collab-course, and it was totally worth it because now we have officially completed draft one of our syllabus!!!
I wonder if all teachers struggle as much as we have been with trying to figure out what students should learn about each year. I’m sure experience helps a ton with this process, because each year you can just make edits from the year before. But what about that first year at a new course? How do you start?
I’m sure we haven’t had the most efficient process, as evident by how it took us until now to finish this complete draft (we’ve been working lots before today, but now it is all written out which is nice).
One of my biggest wonders of the day that I had while creating the syllabus was why students don’t see the same syllabus that teachers submit for approval. I mean at some point in the first week every teacher goes over the syllabus, but basically all they talk about is the stuff that is on everyone’s syllabus: grading scale, honor code, final exam policy, etc. Why don’t we get to see the full syllabus that talks about what types of projects and activities we will actually do throughout the year?
At Nerd Camp when we were given the syllabus it included major bullet points for what we would learn each day (because we were only there for 3 weeks, so really day-to-day made the most sense). While we didn’t stick to this syllabus –I mean the last week was completely different because we just followed a different path– it was still nice to see the main ideas of what we were going to learn. The syllabus allowed us to have something specific to look forward to throughout the term. Most of us even kept and refereed back to our syllabus because it had the game plan written on it as well.
I don’t know if there is some big reason against giving students the full syllabus that I just don’t know about, but I think it would be much more engaging if rather than every class running through the same lecture with stuff we know is on the syllabus, if we actually learned, “This is the game plan for the year of what we will learn each unit, and here are some of the major projects and activities we will hopefully do.” It would also allow students to really know what they are getting themselves into early on in the year.
I mean I know I’ve put a lot of work into creating our syllabus, and I’m proud of it in some odd way, so if I was a teacher I’d want to show my students the full syllabus so maybe, like me, they could get excited about the year. Teachers can get proud of their work too, I’ve seen it happen. I respect all teachers even more now from working on this course, and I feel like sharing the syllabus would benefit teachers and students.
Why not give students the full syllabus?