Photo By Melissa Redlich
Two months or so ago, I was sitting in my bedroom at my desk staring at my computer screen at 9:15 on a Tuesday morning. My fingers were mindlessly typing on my keyboard, answering the Nearpod questions as fast as possible and then clicking the next button, moving me to the next slide. The website flashed people’s answers on the screen as my teacher read them aloud. However, when my eyes skimmed over the next question, I realized that it made no sense to me. It wasn’t like the sentence was grammatically incorrect or had some sort of typo; the question itself just shocked me altogether.
“Let’s imagine you have two conflicting obligations. you have an English paper to write, but your friends want to go see a movie. How do you weigh these obligations? Which do you think you would pick?”
To me, the answer was pretty straightforward. All I had to do was write, “write my english paper” in the text box and I was done. I can’t speak for the other students, but if memory serves me right, I believe the majority had the same response as I did.
But something about this question really irritated me. This seemingly benign question got under my skin and long after that Advisory period, I was still thinking about it.
I feel that Advisory does not share the same values as the school practices. So many of the topics that we learn in advisory are incompatible with how WCHS behaves. Not that our school’s values are horrendous, but they are not reflected by the lessons we learn.
In Advisory, we had a presentation on Identifying Personal Values, where I learned that I should cherish and prioritize my time doing things that I value the most. I’m not sure about you, but my friends and family are my first and foremost priorities. While school and homework are a few slots down on the list. Here is my question: Why after learning these pathos-based lessons, does our school put so much pressure and emphasis on perfecting your assignments and having all A’s? I completely understand that we must learn academics, study habits, and coping skills during our high school experience, but why do the emphasis between school life and doing things that make you happy have to be so off-balance?
In AP NSL, we learn that for the government to work successfully, it has a system of checks and balances and a separation of powers, thus ensuring that it is balanced, equal and most importantly fair. Is it just me, or do others wish that WCHS was a little more understanding that we students have a life outside of school, after spending 7-8 hours on the computer daily doing homework and taking classes?
As I was saying, there is a disconnect between values that WCHS says it stands for and what the slides in Advisory and the actual values that it demonstrates, day-to-day.
In order for me as a student to be stable, there has to be more of an equilibrium. For example, not having advisory classes two times a week so students can sleep in, or even just changing the slides in Advisory so they match with the WCHS student body.
When we were in school last spring, we only had advisory twice a month, so why do we have these lessons twice a week now? To me, the lessons seem forced and like the administration is just looking for “filler” material.
Another slideshow that we reviewed was called “Time Management”. In this lesson, we were asked questions such as “Why do you waste time? What do you waste time doing? What could you achieve if you managed your time better?” Truthfully, the answer is waking up one hour early to sit in front of my screen for another hour each day, listening to these Advisory lessons which I feel are a waste of my time.
I realize that WCHS has to follow county orders and the county has to follow Md. state policies, but shouldn’t the mental health of students be more important than grades that will barely mean anything in five years?
During this quarantine period, I know that my mental health has been slowly, but surely, been declining. I also know that some kids are going through the same thing as I am: stress, uncertainty, loads of school work and sleepless nights.
Hopefully I am not the only one who feels strongly about this topic, and thinks that our advisory classes values do not mirror our schools’ practice values. However, if you do share these values, try to get your voice heard!