It probably started off with the best of intentions. In order to run a school, there are a certain number of logistical things that are required. So give every student an advisor or homeroom teacher. Papers can be passed out and collected, announcements made, grades distributed, etc..

Then, perhaps even especially at the middle school level, it became more. The advisor as advocate. The advisor should form a relationship with the student. After all, every student should have a good relationship with at least one adult in the building. Naturally, then, advisory – and this attention to the whole child – became a part of the schedule. We give time to what we prioritize.

Then, the question became (I suspect), what do we do with all of this advisory time? So curriculum was created – some haphazardly, some deliberately. Character education, study skills, whatever. All the things that seem to belong somewhere in school, but had persisted in remaining homeless.

So do you give academic credit for advisory?

And, truth be told, there are some teachers I’ve met who are natural advisors. They are comfortable in the role, form good relationships with individuals and are adept at facilitating group activities. I’m not one of them. I can do decently well with individuals and can be a pretty good advocate for a child. And I can do all of the paperwork with them. But the group activities? I always feel false.

I give one middle school leader credit for bringing some structure to the process. And here, an outside PD person was helpful. The thing is, none of us (as far as I know) received training to be advisors. We know our subjects. We know some things about child development. But what exactly should an advisor be / do? What is the purpose of advisory?

Is this yet another thing we hang on to because we don’t know what else to do?

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