Freshman advisory bridges a gap

Why your Friday tutorial sacrifice is worth it


Photo by Claire Torii

Team bonding doesn’t just allow freshmen to get to know each other, it promotes feelings of trust and comfort

A common issue for everyone these past weeks has been finding a free classroom during Friday tutorial.

This advisory is a time every Friday tutorial where freshmen gather at a designated homeroom with a group of about 30 other freshmen and bond. The need for a freshman homeroom seemed unclear, and I was rather bitter as a HOP leader to find out that our interactions with freshmen were perhaps deemed ‘not enough.’

Upon talking to Zenas Lee, biology teacher and the founder of the program, it was clear that this wasn’t the case at all. This program went beyond just making freshmen feel comfortable, it’s main goal was to unite students and adults on campus, so that students always felt they had someone to talk to.

After hearing this, I thought about my freshman self. I was deathly afraid of talking or even just saying hello to my teachers outside of class. I felt like I had to disassociate with them because we were not in an academic environment. I did not trust them enough to talk to them about myself and I thought my teachers’ only purpose was to determine my grades.

Most students will admit to being guilty of not treating their teachers like actual people  outside the classroom. Students do not feel like they can talk to teachers or other administration about their personal vulnerabilities and conflicts. This causes a build up in emotions that could put a student’s mental or physical health at risk.

Freshman advisory should be viewed as a program to help students become more comfortable with teachers and adults on campus. Trust between staff and students will encourage students to ask for help when needed and help students develop valuable communication skills.

Students have also started to believe that the activities done in homeroom, mostly team bonding game like ‘human knot’ and ‘show and tell’, are not beneficial to freshmen. But at these early stages, with only a couple of of homeroom sessions behind them, it is very difficult for homeroom teachers to see how activities are negatively or positively affecting students.

At the beginning, conversations and activities are bound to be awkward, and name games are going to have to be played, there is no other way around that when meeting new people.

It must also be kept in mind that this is a new program and that this is one of the only programs of its kind in the district. Of course not all of the tutorials are going to result in a life-changing bonding experiences right away, but as this program progresses, it is hoping to be extended to all four years, the teachers remaining the same throughout a student’s high school-career.

This pilot program is a very important step towards bridging the gap between students and teachers, so it should be embraced into our HHS culture, rather than being regarded as a lost cause.