Creating a Better Advisory for Everyone

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Tiger Learning Communities (TLC) began this year with the goal of creating connections between students and teachers. Since then, numerous issues have arisen. Some students complain that their teachers do nothing; others say it is just a study hall with no connecting going on. As TLC quickly approaches its ninth week, the Editorial Board of the Morse Code has compiled suggestions for students and teachers and key points for the TLC Committee to address in their upcoming meeting.

To the TLC Committee:

We recognize that advisory is a much-needed addition to our campus. A respectable amount of work has gone into creating the program, and it holds a lot of potential, but is not currently being seen in such a light. Many students complain that it is a waste of time and that they’re not getting anything out of it. Central to changing this unfavorable view of advisory is understanding why some students and teachers feel the way they do. Students may not understand the purpose of advisory, and being unaware of the long-term goals may make them feel as though they have no need to participate or that it is an inefficient use of time. Teachers can attribute most mishaps regarding advisory to technical issues, but no one is to blame for this.

With students as the focus of advisory, it would be beneficial to have student input on what lessons are taught and when. Surveys, while an efficient way of gathering student input, take place after the fact. It is imperative that students are aware of the schedule beforehand and have a say in its production. Currently, seniors are looking for more college-focused lessons or alternatives to college. The lessons on coping skills, while thoughtful, may be more beneficial to have at another time. Introducing lessons in a timely manner can also be said for other grade levels. Knowing what students want and when they want it will make them feel included in the process, and thus more connected to advisory. Done right, it can also ensure the lesson for the day is taught, as both students and teachers will be fully aware of it ahead of time. Additionally, changing the twenty-minute time period, which is widely seen as awkward and not long enough to get things done, is instrumental in years going forward.

We are aware that as a trial run, it is important to have constant feedback so improvements can be made. However, there is a concern that the lessons are not meeting the long-term goals of advisory, which is to create a more connected campus. More interactive and collaborative lessons that students can relate to and will resonate with them, may stick longer than surveys and worksheets. Most discussions tend to lag as the group dynamic is still relatively new and being accustomed to, so having lessons that build on communication and bonding early in the year, and gradually building on it, will be more beneficial in the long run. Keep in mind that many students appreciate the topics of the current lessons and believe that they do have potential.

To Teachers:

Advisory will only work if everyone involved is putting in effort. Many mishaps can be attributed to technical errors, such as links not loading and computers unwilling to connect to the internet, and other factors like distracted students. However, being a good example will set a precedent for students, even if they don’t seem to notice it. Teachers are as much a part of advisory as the students, and its success relies on everyone putting forth effort to reach the same goal, which is to create a more connected community and create a path for students to become their best selves. Some teachers are giving their students extra materials to aid in their success, while others are disregarding lessons plans and letting students use it as a study hall. This divide in effort is causing advisory to struggle. Teachers need to hold each other accountable and ensure that no one is slacking and everyone has what they need to host a successful advisory period. Be open-minded about the situation. Take part in advisory to showcase what you, your students, and the program are capable of.

To Students:

Advisory exists for your benefit. Nothing works perfectly on the first try, and advisory can truly improve the Morse community, given support and time. Giving advisory a shot will benefit everyone in the end, as its main purpose is to create a supportive environment for students while equipping them with the skills they need to be productive teens, and eventually, adults. Students will get more out of lessons, teachers will get to interact with students they may have never seen otherwise, and the TLC committee will have the opportunity to work alongside everyone involved to create a program that focuses on the good of the students and the lifting the school as a whole.

Many students are struggling emotionally, even if it isn’t noticeable or talked about. Building connections will give them the support they need to make it through the day. Helping one another will only benefit everyone involved, and the first step can be getting to know the other students in your advisory.

Students who have difficulty participating in group activities, may it be from shyness, being uncomfortable with others in the group, or just having an off day, can contribute simply by being engaged. Paying attention goes a long way – even if nothing is thought of it. Participation will also lead to honest feedback, which can only move advisory forward in the right direction.

Take into consideration the amount of work it took to create this program, and what can happen as a result if taken seriously. Changes won’t happen overnight, but a gradual shift in the perception of advisory will be rewarding for everyone involved.


Please send your feedback as a letter to the editor. All opinions are appreciated and will go towards building a better advisory.