I still can't believe that I graduated Union High School 20 years ago this year. 1997 was a fun year–a senior in high school, not a care in the world. Then again, it was a different world.
My superintendent, Dr. Jakubowski (with whom I still speak), made two prominent points at our graduation.
1. Don't get into a stranger's car.
2. Don't use the internet....
No one's getting the American Dream, a car, or even a pony when Trump takes office. We'll still have to think, hustle, and put skills to use to get these things if we want them. No one is getting saved.
And it's all good because...
We learn so that we can think.
We believe in people and in ourselves so we can persevere.
We work together so we can gain skills.
“Mister, why do we have to do this? I’d honestly rather work on math right now. Or anything else.”
This was advisory class (also known as “guidance”). I was a certified high school math teacher, but like so many of my peers, I also taught advisory. In advisory, teachers met with students to develop their social skills and help them explore college and career options. The class sounds practical, particularly because I taught in New York City alternative high schools serving at-risk students.
“There are no standards in ‘guidance’ or ‘advisory’; such courses may only bear credit if they are taught by appropriate subject certified teachers…”
This might explain why advisory was so often treated as an afterthought in New York City public schools. We weren’t provided thoughtful or engaging curriculum and yet, every student took advisory multiple times in a year to accumulate elective credits and meet graduation requirements. I rarely felt underprepared teaching math, but unfortunately it was advisory that helped me perfect the art of improvising....