Advanced Placement Summer Institutes Instructor Spotlight - Patricia Fox

Posted by Fitchburg State University on June 26, 2023 at 10:27 AM

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am recently retired from a 40 year high school career in which I taught both English and Theatre as well as directing plays. In retirement, I have been able to devote more time to becoming a better photographer, read more books and am looking forward to resuming international travel. So much to do!

How long have you been involved with AP courses? How did you get started as a consultant?

Simply put- I love teaching! If you believe (as I do) that teaching is a calling then you will understand why I decided to become an AP Consultant- it has provided me with another opportunity to be sharing best practices about a course I am passionate about.

I taught my first AP English Language and Composition class in 2009, but long before that non-fiction and critical thinking were components of my educational philosophy. For example, when my students were fast becoming movie-watchers rather then book-readers, I designed a film class where students entered the world of analysis through director intent, advancing from passive to active viewing (students complained they would never be able to watch a movie the same way again- checkmate on that one!) So when I had the opportunity to teach this course, I grabbed it and as a result it profoundly impacted all the courses I taught.

What is the biggest challenge facing AP instructors?

There are so many challenges for today’s educators in all classes, among a long list here are some: accountability for test scores, negotiating perceived controversial content, impacting students of all abilities and backgrounds, and managing paper load. Perhaps the greatest challenge for the English teacher is the emerging popularity of ChatGPT with its potential to destroy the authenticity of student essay writing. We will address all of these in our time together.

What is the most helpful advice you’ve received?

The most helpful advice I was given is to make the time for self-reflection and seize opportunities for professional growth, even when you feel reluctant to leave the classroom. It’s well worth the investment.

What is one piece of advice would you give AP instructors?

The advice I would like to share with you as an AP teacher is don’t measure your worth from your students’ AP scores but know you have ultimately made them more prepared for postsecondary education (there are statistics to prove this). Even more importantly, the skills in this course are transformational; your students will become more skillful writers, better prepared for post-secondary education and more adept citizens.


Patricia Fox taught high school students for 40 years and retired at the end of the school year. She instructed students from freshmen to seniors, spanning all ability levels in the English classroom. Additionally, in coordination with the University of Southern Maine, she mentored several secondary education interns. Her interest in the study of film and image led to designing a Language of Film Studies course, and continues to be a component of her AP Language workshops. As a result of her accomplishments in the AP English Language and Composition course, she was hired as a mentor for all AP instructors in the Fryeburg, Maine school district.

Her M.A. is in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on critical thinking. In 2010 she earned National Board Certification in Secondary Education Language Arts. Additionally, she has presented at the annual AP Conference, NCTE and at its local affiliate, the Maine Council of English Language Arts, where she serves on the executive board. Since 2009, she has been either Reader or Table Leader for the College Board AP exam. As an AP Consultant, Patricia has presented at many one and two day workshops, as well as numerous Summer Institutes throughout the United States and looks forward to returning to the classroom.

Interested in attending the AP Summer Institutes at Fitchburg State University?

Registration deadline for Week 2 is July 10!

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Topics: Graduate Programs, Advanced Placement Summer Institutes