Mr. Hargis tackles new AP Psychology course


A.J. Hairston

Mr. Hargis is taking over our AP Psychology class. When The Chant reporter Morgan White asked what his plans were for the class, he said “ Though it may seem like a difficult class, I plan to make it a fun, interesting one.”

Morgan White, Reporter

Teaching AP creates an entirely different ball game for teachers to balance, one that William Hargis, North Cobb psychology and US History teacher, has stepped up to. The popular teacher recently gained AP certification, which enables him to fill in for Ms. Shelnutt as the AP Psychology teacher during the second half of the day.

A history major, Hargis grew interested in psychology during college: “I took a lot of psychology classes and really enjoyed them. When I was hired at North Cobb they needed a history teacher, and someone that was also interested in possibly picking up some psychology classes. They asked me, and I said absolutely,” said Hargis. “I did my training, went through the protocols and everything, and got AP certified for psychology. Here I am, and I love it.”

Contrary to beliefs that adjusting from on-level curriculum to AP level serves a challenge for teachers, Hargis believes the curriculum changes the least. “I don’t find it hard, especially with psychology. It’s about trying to motivate the students; it’s not necessarily the content.”

Hargis explains that AP Psychology differs only slightly from on-level Psychology: “I would say the pace is different. We have to go at a faster pace and more in-depth with the information, but all of the key terms, information, historical aspects and biological roots and functioning are exactly the same… we might go in more depth with our AP classes, especially since the students have more of a scientific background.”

The differences between the classes trend towards the academic level of the students, not the class, at least in Hargis’ case. Hargis further explains, “I love it, I’m dealing with a set of students that I haven’t previously been used to teaching. I look at them as more of my peers than my students; because some of them know more about specific parts of psychology than I do.”

He points toward his organization skills as far as time management.

“Since I was hired, I’ve always taught two classes, and since I’ve always taught two, I’m used to it. I’m the head football coach for the freshman team in the spring, and currently I’m not teaching an AP class in the spring, so that makes it a little easier,” he said.

Some students are drawn to psychology because of the relatability of the subject: “It can relate to everyday life, like behavior: why teens do the things they do, why do they behave the way they do, and where they get their personalities from. They can relate to some things they get from their mom, somethings they get from their dad,” Hargis said.

If Ms. Shelnutt, long time North Cobb AP Psychology teacher, retires for good, one can expect Hargis taking over the rest of the AP classes. Ms. Shellnut holds nothing back as far as her love for Mr. Hargis’ recent opportunities.

“I am very excited for him.  He’s done such a great job with the regular psychology class, I knew he’d want the challenge doing more.  Mr. Hargis has a teacher’s heart – and truly cares about the kids,” Shelnutt said.  “He knows they are deserving of his best efforts, every day! In my opinion Will Hargis definitely has the right stuff for an AP Psychology instructor.  He rocks!”