Multi-course AP teachers build unique relationships with students

Joshua Singer

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AP US Government and AP Human Geography teacher lectures on economic policy and religion on the global and regional scale. Muehl loves it when her students connect what they are learning in class to the real world. “I call it the lightbulb moment. It’s the moment when you are teaching and you see a kid make that connection for the first time,” Muehl said.

The bell rings and social studies teacher Elizabeth Muehl dismisses her class of freshman AP US Government students and immediately gets ready to teach her next class, AP Human Geography to eager sophomores, juniors and seniors. A few teachers like Muehl navigate and enjoy teaching multiple APs at the same time which allows them to form relationships with students while teaching college-level courses.

“I love the fact that there is a higher standard of expectation in the sense that the content that you learn is a lot. I like saying that we are going to get a lot done,” Muehl said.

Teaching one class is extremely difficult for any teacher, but teaching two different courses at the same time is very strenuous.

“It requires a lot of planning and diligence and the follow-up is intense, but the students are great, they are usually very committed to being successful. It makes you want to put your effort into it in order to help them be successful,” AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics and AP US Government teacher Timothy Rodman said.

While Rodman and Muehl teach different courses, they are able to find many similarities between the courses they teach. Both of them enjoy the fact that the courses they teach have a direct correlation with the way the world works.

“I love the combination of teaching government and economics, especially to students. I am a career changer. I worked in business for a number of years and the reason I teach government is because I want students to know that they can and will make a difference in the world even if it means they are not doing anything so that they can express their views on issues that matter to them and they can find ways to get their voice heard,” Rodman said.

Teaching multiple classes to students in different grade levels often means that teachers may have the same student twice. This allows for the student and teacher to have a stronger relationship since the student will have had the teacher for at least a full year.

“I had [Mr. Rodman] for AP Government and AP Macro and Micro. During AP Government, our relationship was not that close, but when I had him again junior year, for AP Macro/Micro, we developed a deeper connection and I was able to talk to him about things related to the class and things not related to the class as well. That deeper connection helped me approach him to ask for a (college) recommendation and his recommendation I feel like was on a deeper level compared to if I had a teacher for one or two semesters,” senior Avery Seo said.

As with all teachers, the main goal is to make an impact on students’ lives outside the classroom.

“My hope is to incite a passion for government or economics or political science that [students] can take with them in order to make a difference,” Rodman said.