How do students really feel about Advisory?

Some students enthusiastically support the experience while others just spend time with their phones

Every Monday and Friday, students at Buffalo High School go to Advisory. Advisory is a class similar to a homeroom, where students are assigned a teacher that they stick with for all of high school. In Advisory, students listen to lessons from the Character Strong curriculum which include activities that are intended to help them get to know the other students, build community, and research their choices after high school.

Students have participated in Advisory for three years, with last year’s format being significantly disrupted by COVID-19 and Distance Learning. As students have become more familiar with the program, their opinions have become polarized.

Out of 51 randomly-selected BHS students surveyed, 55% of students said that they enjoy Advisory. All of the freshmen surveyed said that they enjoyed Advisory, and indicated that it is a place to sit back and relax, away from schoolwork and work stress. Most Juniors also said that they enjoyed Advisory, with most of them looking forward to a time to see friends and take a break. Most Seniors and Sophomores both said that they didn’t enjoy Advisory, and only looked forward to seeing a couple friends in their class.

According to our survey, 55% of students enjoy Advisory, and 41% said that they spend most of the time on their phone.

All grades agreed that Advisory wasted a lot of time, but what they thought wasted time differed. Most Freshmen think that advisory is pretty good, but some think it is too repetitive. Many Sophomores simply said that school would be better without advisory, or that the class could be improved by eliminating lessons and replacing them with either time to work or free time. Juniors have the most polarized thoughts on advisory, with nearly all of those surveyed disliking it or wanting it to be eliminated entirely. However, those who enjoy it wanted it to be longer or more in-depth. In general, students either like or dislike advisory because of the time it takes up, and not because their teacher does or doesn’t follow the curriculum.

The most common reason why students look forward to Advisory is seeing their friends. Forty-one percent of students said they use their phone during Advisory, while just 20% of students said they actually listen to the lesson. Based on how students perceive their teachers’ reactions, one in three teachers seem to think Advisory is great, another 22% seem to think that Advisory is okay, and the remaining 40% of teachers may reveal moderate or negative feelings about Advisory. Students also reported that almost all of their teachers follow the curriculum every day, with only 33% of teachers “sometimes” following it, and 4% not following it at all.

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