We have all been there before: it’s 12:50, and Block 4 is finished. Finally, lunch! But wait, no, it’s advisory time–time for you to go to a class, sit, and, well, do nothing.
This time should be dedicated to working on whatever you’re falling behind on or want to get ahead on, but as almost all students and even teachers will tell you, we go to other classrooms to see our friends, laugh, talk, even play chess. In the end, work never gets done from 12:50 to 13:20.
“It’s a waste of time,” some students protest. “We do nothing interesting.” Some students think that advisory is “a good idea that just isn’t reinforced well enough to work.” But maybe, just maybe, there’s more to this 30-minute session than meets the eye.
Why do we have advisory?
According to AISB Principal Jonathan Cain, “The overall goal of advisory is to find one adult in the building that students have constant contact with.” This gives the students an adult to refer to if they need “a teacher that knows more about you than just work.”
This, in theory, is a great idea. In elementary, we had our homeroom teacher and they saw us all day, every day. We became close, and it was easy to talk to them about anything. It was also easy for the teachers to sense if something was wrong. Unfortunately, we lose this opportunity in secondary.
Most high school students would agree that they don’t have any particular or different relationship with their advisory teacher than any other teacher. Because, in reality, just putting a student in the same classroom with the same teacher every day will not necessarily make them any closer; that’s just basic human socializing–not everyone will be able to bond with everyone.
What we end up having are these 30 minutes of social time where students hop from one advisory to another after taking attendance in theirs, supposedly going to do a group project with their friend in a different class and advisory ends up being a supervised chatting session with a teacher telling you not to speak too loud and not to swear.
Advisory is also “a chance to teach students about things that aren’t in a normal curriculum class,” as said by Cain, which is great, again, in theory. But the students “listen” for 10 minutes as the teachers talk, then go back to chatting or to their computer games. Advisor for a grade 11 class, Mrs. Pacifique, points out, “there aren’t enough interesting or useful activities; there is too much time dedicated for what we currently do.”
Should we get rid of advisory?
So, we know that some teachers and students think that advisory is not used properly. But we can’t just completely remove advisory, can we? No, that would be unreasonable; but we can find alternatives.
First, the simple one: advisory is too long, you say? We could simply shorten it. And to add life to the class, each class need to have a goal, whether it’s watching an educational video, or having a conversation with all the students and the teacher, or even playing a trivia game where the different advisories compete for a prize once a week. Just something to keep the students entertained.
The second, more drastic change could be to implement the same homeroom system that’s in place in millions of schools all over the world. In the morning, we go to homeroom class for 20 minutes where the teacher takes attendance and the teacher can read the morning announcements. Like the original advisory, but in the morning, and for a shorter time. This would also help students who are late to first class because of traffic, as most late slips are taken in the morning and not from class to class. This would remove the problem of having advisory in the middle of the day and we could have fun activities to wake up our slow brains in the morning before our first class.
So, what do you think? We would love to know your opinion on advisory. Should we keep it? Should we change it? Do you have another suggestion that we didn’t talk about? Please comment and tell us what you think.