Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Student dilemma

OK, I'm going to admit it, I really wish that my students hadn't found this little journal. Sometimes I want to crab about them, sometimes I want to tell cute stories about them, and sometimes I just want to disclose more about my life than a student really needs to know about their art teacher. That being said, one of my students who checks the heck out of this blog, has a dilemma and I think that reader comments could provide some insight for her. PLEASE COMMENT. Her and her mom are moving to another school district this summer. If she wants to continue at our school next year, she'll have quite a commute every day. Of course going to another school is another option, but gosh, it'll be her senior year and that would be a pain too. The last option is taking her senior year courses over the internet. While I could not possibly be paid enough to go back to Roseville High and live through those not-so-glory-days again, I think mile-markers (like prom and graduation and trying out for the plays...) were really important to me at the time. At 34, are the memories and experiences of my senior year in high school really all that important to who I am now? What about closure?


Betsy said...

Quite a commute? More than an hour? Can she ride a bus and get some reading done? I think it is pretty much worth a fair amount of trouble to spend your senior year with your friends in a familiar environment. It is an important, emotional time in a young person's life, and it would be good to be able to finish school with as little trauma as possible.

Ugly Juice said...

I certainly have fond memories from high school, but I don't know that those memories are from my senior year in particular--I mean, spending my senior year at another school would not have made those memories go away, and in fact might have been a fun change of pace and a nice way to make some friends. I guess what I mean to say is that there was nothing so uniquely special about my senior year.

I guess my point is, mystery student reader: sure, it would really stink to have to leave your friends behind and start at a new school, but it won't be the end of the world. You will keep in touch with the friends you want to keep in touch with. Heck, you may even make it back to your old school every now and then, or attend prom with your old friends or something like that. Leaving won't end your true friendships. I also remember some of the kids that I went to high school with that I still think of as classmates even though they didn't graduate with me. (If you attended that school for many years, you might consider hunting down the person who keeps track of alumni to see if you could be invited to class reunions and things even though you didn't graduate there).

About this distance-learning thing: Yuck. If it were me, I would get lonely and sad pretty quick. Does Minnesota still have post-secondary option for high-schoolers? If she has to leave her old school and doesn't want to start at a new school (hence I assume the genesis of the distance-learning idea?), why not just get a year of college out of the way? I guess I don't know if she's moving to an area that would work for that, but she could do post-secondary at any community college (I think) or 4-year college. If she did post-secondary, she would still be part of her current high school's graduating class.

I'd say evaluate just how long that commute is. If it's less than an hour, as Betsy said, it may be worth it. But think about how much that commute might wear you down and consider whether it would really be so bad to start anew elsewhere.

Becca said...

I remember being sort of "over" high school after my junior year...I was so ready to go to college, move on with my life, etc. However, there were so many things about my senior year that I won't forget. The excitement of completing a major milestone in life with my friends and other peers, the fun of going to prom, having the opportunity to do an internship, being at the "top" of the school, forming mentoring relationships with my teachers...all of those things that come from being a senior and working so hard to get there.

About the online education option...I am definitely an advocate for online education in many ways. I work for eCollege--a company that provides that very technology we are talking about. I work with hundreds of schools that are providing online education to students every day. It's an amazing industry and you'd be impressed at how effective and productive learning in this way can be for people. However, as a high school student, learning is SO much more than the content you are getting in your courses. It's going through the emotion of making future decisions about your life, having a bit of closure (as Julie mentioned) on this milestone, feeling like the most knowledgable person at the school, dating and communicating...

So, the question is: can you have those things if you move to a new school or take all of your courses online? How about some of these options:

1. Can you work out a schedule where you are taking your required courses on 3 days a week and doing a couple of online courses through another school that you can transfer back?

2. Does your current HS have an internship option? Where you could go and explore a potential career that may be of interest to you--and can you get academic credit for that?

3. Is an hour really that big of a deal if you can take the bus and get your work done for the day? Or write poetry or draw a picture or write a letter to a friend?

So many things to think about...but I love the option of looking at some alternative ways to get your academic credit...while still remaining a student at your school. Of course, I don't know what opportunities you have...but think outside of the box!

Whatever you decide, be sure to enjoy the last year of HS. Enjoy your friends and cherish those mentors at your school as well. They can teach you so much.

Beth said...

That is tough. Being the new kid at school for your senior year would be a scary idea to me, as would leaving all my old friends. If I was really outgoing though, I'd take it as an opportunity to meet new people but still keep all the old friends too. However if I felt being rooted in a familiar place, with old friends and memories was more important, then the commute would be worth it.

I love Juice's idea of doing the post-secondary thing, because then it would be moving on to an exciting new beginning in college, where everyone was in the same boat, rather then starting new in a fresh high-school, and then having to start over again the following year in college. (WOW run-on sentence there!).

Although distance education sounds interesting to me, now as an adult, and I know there are certain people it is really good for in high school... I think it would be a lonely way to spend a Senior Year. You'll have many years in front of a computer monitor ahead of you, no matter what you do in life.. .I think spending this year surrounded by people, either old friends or new, would be much more rewarding.

Best of luck to you though, and whatever you choose, really take time to enjoy your next year. No matter which route you choose, make time to make lots of good memories!