Snow days cause stress for AP students



Teachers of AP classes must plan to have all the required material complete by the date scheduled in May for their subject’s AP exam.

Cassidy Washburn, Staff Writer

As buckets of snow drift down from above on one cold, wintry morning, most high schoolers sigh with relief and bury themselves back under their covers. However, for students in Advanced Placement classes, snow days can also be a cause of stress.

Due to a set testing date for AP classes, snow days can create difficulties for students and teachers. Many teachers take it upon themselves to find creative, in-class ways around the problem of missed work in order to avoid piling on more homework for the students.

Social studies teacher Michael Normant, who has been teaching AP U.S. Government and AP U.S. History on and off for seven years, tries to ensure that students do not feel the pressure of snow days outside of school by finding imaginative ways to change the class work schedule.

“[Snow days mean that] I have to find ways to be creative, that’s all,” Normant said. “I haven’t changed anything about the work students are doing outside of school. It’s unfortunate that we are held to a firm deadline because of the date of a test, especially with a class like U.S. History where the expectation is that we can get through way more content than should be possible in that time.”

Though teachers try to squeeze all possible content in, sometimes unnecessary topics must be cut in order to guarantee that all topics on the AP test are taught before the test date. Science teacher Julia Speyer, who teaches AP Chemistry, encountered this situation following the many snow days in February.

“At the time, when we were getting all those snow days, there was the impact of February break and wanting to get stuff done before then,” Speyer said. “I just cut out a whole lot of topics that are not required by the AP College Board curriculum.”

Students, such as Isabella Moros Camargo who takes social studies teacher Kristen Murphy’s AP U.S. History class, have also felt an impact of snow days on their work schedule due to homework piling up.

“We had to take so many more notes in one night; it was horrible,three hours of my time were spent sitting down and taking a bunch of notes,” Moros Camargo said. “The classes were more sped up, and we didn’t have as much time as usual to review things because of the snow days.”

Normant tries to make the snow days as relaxing as possible while taking it upon himself to cover the missed work in class.

“The reality for my students is I’m not assigning them work on snow days. I’m not piling on extra work to catch up. I don’t believe in doing any of that. ” Normant said.

Though during the snow days extra work was not assigned to Moros Camargo, she felt the repercussions when returning to school.

“After the snow days we had a lot more work. Homework wise, we had a lot more notes because we skipped over snow days. [My teacher] added those notes on to other days,” Moros Camargo said.

For AP Chemistry, snow days have affected the classes less this year compared to previous school years. The exam is six days later than in past years, which gives AP Chemistry classes more time to review and more flexibility to miss class due to snow.

“I’m sure that for other teachers with other AP schedules, snow days have had a bigger impact, but it all worked out [for us],” Speyer said.

Teachers understand the tension snow days can cause for AP students, and they try to work around these days so that the curriculum runs as smoothly as possible.

“I know that kids have demanding course loads, and I know during that time in May when kids are taking a bunch of different AP classes it certainly can be a busy time,” Normant said. “But, I am a believer in ‘you can only control what you can control’. So, if you lose some days for snow days, enjoy the snow day and we’ll figure it out when we get back.”