It’s amazing the difference a year makes

This past week I spent 40 hours inside a conference room at Auburn University listening to a fantastically knowledgeable woman tell us her tricks and tips to teaching AP Language and Composition.  It’s incredible what a year can do to self esteem, knowledge, and complete and udder inability to focus.

This time last year I was newly hired (as in hired less than a week before) and shipped off to the University of Alabama to absorb everything possible for AP Language and Composition (which is the AP class for 11th grade English).  I paid attention to everything, constantly trying to figure out how to design a course I really didn’t know much about and how to prep my students for the AP Exam.

Fast forward a year – my confidence level is up because, hey, I taught AP and I think I did pretty well at it.  We’ll see when the scores come back how I actually did

::silent prayer – oh PLEASE let them pass!::

Last year I didn’t know anyone.  ANYONE.

This year – I roomed with a fantastic friend and had the adjoining room to two other teachers from my district. We had a table of 5 (the 4 of us + a friend from the conference last year) sitting in the conference room.  We were a force to be reckoned with.  In fact – we formed a gang.  A glitter gang.  Because THAT’S how we roll.

As if you’d expect anything else.

Oh, and I know we didn’t really go to the conference for these things BUT they have definitely made a (negative) impression of Auburn compared to the conference put on at Alabama last year.

  • At Alabama there were tables full of snacks, fruits, and treats to help keep your attention going throughout the conference. PLUS, there were plenty of waters and soft drinks to keep you hydrated.  At Auburn – waters and other drinks were put out at the first break (around 9:30 – this thing started at 7:30 -ugh) and the snacks were extremely limited.  If you weren’t at the front of the line then you would be left with the reject snacks.
  • Alabama gave us a jump drive to put our information on, which was great since we could transfer fellow teacher’s assignments/tests onto our computers.  Auburn left us with a cd – which we didn’t realize we were even getting.
  • Auburn (or was this College Board?) did provide box lunch every day (sandwich, chips, cookie – repeat). Alabama forced us to go get our own lunch.  Of course, Auburn is also REALLY tiny so there weren’t really a lot of places to go get food even if we had run out every day.
  • I came home with stacks of books from publishers last year at Alabama.  Auburn gave me a few.  Not either one of their faults BUT it doesn’t help with the overall production value of the conference.
  • We get these HUGE binders filled with information and at Alabama, the binders were already compiled with everything I would need to teach AP in the fall.  At Auburn, they were not completed, and I believe it also annoyed the presenter because now she had to reorganize the packets.  They didn’t copy pages correctly AND one of my sections was hole punched on the wrong side.  Talk about annoying.  Seriously.  I know it seems miniscule but this is something I will (hopefully) reference for years to come.  Can’t be having holes on the wrong side of the pages!
Rock on Alabama.  Roll Tide and all that other crap.  You put on a better show than Auburn, which at the end of the day, is what matters.
Yes, the conference was still good but even all the Auburn stuff aside, I think I had loads more fun.  And I think that’s why I go to these things.



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