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AP Psychology: the elective with a prep

By Rosa Madden

With the AP Psychology class at a staggering 57 students, this new class brings an odd schedule, creating unique lesson opportunities, adjustments to frequently using online resources, and utilizing two prep periods a week. 

Because this class is so large, it is split into two sections: A and B. The A section meets Monday and Thursday, while the B section meets Wednesday and Friday. On the off days, the section is given a prep period, where students can work on homework either from other classes or the AP Psych class. 

Even though the class time is reduced compared to a regular class, AP Psychology teacher Ms. Bernards fully utilizes these free periods to create more in-depth and complex activities such as group projects, watching videos, and even opportunities to observe psychology in the real world. Later in the year, Bernards plans to take her class to a preschool to study developmental psychology. 

“The hybrid model really allows for us to do things like that, because it then gives students time to go to other activities, sometimes out in the community that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to do because we have so much class time,” Bernards said. 

Students also take advantage of these extra free periods throughout the week to get a head start on homework or to finish assignments from other classes. 

“I like having a prep because I get to do my homework in other classes, and I have practice after school so I don’t always finish my homework,” junior Lily Cansdale said.

Despite the luxuries of two free periods a week, Bernards discusses some drawbacks of this split system. On each class’ off day, their homework is posted to canvas, pushing half of the student-teacher interaction solely online. 

“Psychology is a very personal study, and it’s really important I build trust with students for this class. [It’s critical] they feel like they can be open with me, and that’s more challenging in an online interface,” Bernards stated.

Because of the split schedule, homework can also be challenging. Sometimes assignments are posted or due on a day the class has a prep period, so students have to be vigilant about checking canvas. 

“Homework isn’t that bad, it’s just knowing when to turn stuff in. I remember my past off day we got an assignment on Monday, and it was due the next day (Tuesday), [but] I had an off day on Wednesday,” senior Moises Barajas said.