By: Shane Embury
On September 7, STEM teachers at Hardin Valley Academy shocked students when they announced that each week in advisory, in-depth assignments would have to be completed. STEM teachers will now teach lessons in advisory, much to the displeasure of the students in this academy.
This year, the addition of the skinny classes have already forced students to take five classes each semester instead of the typical four. Advisory should not be acting as a sixth class, complete with its own lessons and assignments. Instead, advisory should be nothing more than a study hall. A study hall period would give the students at least one day each week when their homework can be completed in school, and they can go home with fewer responsibilities and more time to do what they please.
“I use advisory to catch up on the homework for the AP classes I have,” said STEM sophomore Lorren Politano. “I find it extremely helpful as a study hall, much more so than a STEM oriented lesson each week. With the lesson, it only goes for 45 minutes once a week, and I personally am not able to get much out of each lesson.”
Furthermore, teachers have not been able to work out all of the kinks with these new advisory lessons. When STEM principal George Ashe announced the plan to teach a lesson each week, he mentioned that the lessons would be prefaced with a video.
Several STEM advisories are located in the atrium, where neither a television nor a projector is present. Therefore, it is unclear how the lessons can begin with a video for those advisories, unless STEM congregates in the auditorium each week to use the projector.
However, when the other academies have a guest speaker, STEM would then have to leave the auditorium, which raises the question, “How could videos be shown that week?” Knowing the STEM teachers, they would probably persevere with the planned lesson regardless of the availability of a television, but if students are being forced to complete these lessons each week, it would certainly be preferable for them to have all of the necessary materials.
Overall, these advisory assignments are just bad news for students. It is essentially exposing them to a sixth class in one semester, when what high school students really need is a study hall period. In addition, the assignments described seem to be very lengthy and in-depth, with several issues that are not yet resolved.
These weekly advisory lessons need a lot of improvement before they can be viewed as a good idea for STEM students.