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APS teacher shortage hits home

The teacher shortage in Albuquerque Public Schools has been a severe issue that students must find a way to deal with year to year. Excited about my senior year at … high school, I was ready to take on my course load. One class that I was looking forward to was my Advanced Placement English course. I have a passion for writing and was happy to have the opportunity to receive college credit for this course. This excitement would soon be extinguished by the news my classmates and I received the first week into the course. Our teacher at the time informed us that she had received a teaching position (elsewhere), and she simply could not pass on the opportunity to move to her dream destination. She could see the concern in her students faces’ but assured us there was no reason for alarm. She stated we would have a long-term sub who would prepare us for the AP exam that we would be taking at the end of the year.

The following week my peers and I were introduced to our new teacher, Mr. X. At this point in time, we were optimistic about our not-so-uncommon situation. This optimism soon faded away after he expressed to us on the first day that he was extremely underqualified to teach an AP course but he was grateful for the opportunity for us to be able to teach him. As he continued talking, the tension mounted and the classroom was filled with confusion. Above all else, my peers and I were disappointed in APS’ (and the school’s) ability to provide a qualified teacher who could assist us in meeting our course requirements. Students take AP classes in an attempt to receive college credit by passing the exam at the end of the year; I felt that my classmates and I were now at a huge disadvantage.

In the upcoming days we got a taste of what Mr. X’s lesson planning was like. We started class the same way every day. Mr. X explained to us that he was highly underqualified for his position, and that if we were patient he would greatly appreciate that. Next, he would teach a lesson that was far too basic for an AP class, such as basic elementary anagram worksheets. Then with an hour left in class, he would advise us that we could go read a book outside for the remainder of class. The only thing we were learning at this time was that the system had failed us. The morale in the classroom was gloomy and … students no longer showed up to class.

Nonetheless, we were asked to write three essays as well as complete a multitude of worksheets. But despite the fact that I completed these tasks, I found myself without a grade in the grade book at the six-week time period … To this day, I still have not received grades for any of the work I completed under his lack of supervision. This grueling cycle of low attendance and lack of learning continued for over six weeks until (the school) finally assigned a teacher to our class who is passionate and qualified to teach an AP course.

It is said that the future of this world is in the classroom. If we truly believe that statement, then as a community we must demand that students should never have a teacher who is not educating them for the future. We must plan today for a brighter tomorrow.

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