By Sofia Weddle
An eight-year old child’s last thought is about the future of their education. This is not the case in Howard County, where G/T classes are introduced in the third grade. Even though children this young should not be forced to stress about academics, more and more children are becoming overwhelmed with homework and are embarrassed about the level of class they are taking. Mr. Spivey, an AP and G/T political sciences teacher at Glenelg High School, understands differentiated education (especially with math) in elementary school, but thinks that “third grade might be too early” for GT classes to be introduced as it kills the fun of school.
Even in the beginning of middle school, when an orientation is held to help students get comfortable with the school, these information sessions usually consist of speeches about the positive outcome of leadership activities, honor societies, and upper-level classes on the student’s future. Students, like Senior Caitlyn Oates, believe that sixth grade is a good starting point for the introduction of G/T classes if the student is prepared to work hard and be surrounded by others who will do the same. These upper-level classes feel somewhat like high school, where GT and AP courses are abundant. However, high school and its upper-level classes end up giving students many mixed feelings.
One anonymous Junior thinks that AP, G/T, and Honors classes will prepare students for college and their future by challenging their abilities. Despite the benefits of taking an upper level class, some students worry that they can cause excessive stress. Gloria McComas, a Glenelg Junior, wants students to realize that “AP is not the end all, be all.” Junior Grace Shrestha reminds students that taking G/T and AP classes shouldn’t be “a label” because upper-level classes really “depend on hard work and scores”. Many high schoolers believe that when a student is deciding on courses, they should ensure that their courses are not only challenging, but also that they are sincerely interested in them.
Even with the challenge of AP classes, most Glenelg students generally believe upper-level courses to be worthwhile. Mr. Spivey takes a similar stance on advanced classes, believing that “every student at Glenelg should take at least one AP course in high school” to ease the transition to college or jobs. From his lack of experience with upper-level classes during his high school career, he believes that he “would have been better prepared if [he] took them”. Through all of this input on high-level classes the consensus seems to be that G/T and AP classes are worth it if you are going in with the right mindset, but require an initiative to work hard in order to to succeed.