Saturday, May 21, 2011

High School ...Who is it good for?

I've been thinking a great deal about high school lately.  My 30th reunion is coming up this summer, which is bringing me back to my wonderful (read the sarcasm here) days.  And my daughter is finishing up her second year, hating every minute.  I've spoken to lots of people about their high school experience, read books, seen videos, and have come to the conclusion that high school isn't good for anyone.  So I figured I would lay out my thinking here, in the hopes that some of you high school teachers can prove me wrong.  Or maybe rethink things a bit.


Puberty and High School
The first problem I have with high school, and probably the biggest, is the fact that high school comes at a time when our brains tell us that the only thing that matters is that we fit in.  And there is no way to fit in.  We are too fat, too skinny, too big a butt, no butt, wearing the wrong clothes, carrying the wrong bag, having multiple bad hair days.  And all of this is going on while we desperately want to be attractive to the opposite sex.


What does high school do to help with this?  First, a rank is set up.  Did you make honor roll?  Highest honors?  What is your ranking in your class?  Did you make it into AP classes?  Are you taking the classes for the "dumb" kids (those would be the hands-on classes - we'll talk later)?


Next, high school sets up clubs, run by high school students.  Try to join a club and you have just joined a clique.  The students running the club decide who does what, by popularity, not skill.  Try out for a music night and get in or not, depending on your relationship with the students running the club.  Join a business club and get to run the school store only if you are friends with the leader of the club.  Even community help clubs...choices are work the car wash on Saturday with all the kids, or make posters to hang up on the walls.  Who decides?  The students running the clubs.


The Ranking System
Apparently, the purpose for high school is to pass tests to get out of high school.  AP exams, regents exams, finals, mid-terms.  And the purpose of the classes is to prepare for the tests. You can see my previous blog about this here.  So let's take students whose sole purpose in life is to be social and tell them that all they should be worried about is how they compare on the tests to everyone else in the class, district, county, state, country.  Yeah, that works. Oh, and let's put all the tests in the same week.  Add more stress to their already stressed lives.  I know children who come home hysterical because they didn't get the top score in class.  I hear about children having anxiety attacks during testing week.  I watch my own daughter study, call friends for help, cry, and stress out before each exam.  


And classes are ranked, too.  AP classes are at the top.  Only the best and brightest survive those.  Next is regents classes.  These are also for top students but available and manageable by many.  Then we have those "other" classes.  These are the hands-on classes many kids want to take but can only take as electives.  Shop class, cooking, art classes, sewing, music, etc.  These are often not available to those AP students.  No time. So the classes tend to be filled by students not able to make it in AP classes.  Hence, the term..the "dummy" classes.  Everyone wants to take them but most students avoid them if they can.  And last, in our area, is BOCES.  BOCES is a program for children who cannot make it in school at all.  They go there to learn a trade...car mechanic, hair stylist,  cook, etc.  They take academic classes in between attending these hands-on classes.  All of it happens off campus.  I have never met a child who has gone through BOCES and said they hated it.  They all love the program.  But it does have a stigma attached. 


The Teacher/Student Connection
In elementary school, we spend lots of time trying to connect with our students.  We help them get through projects, we plan tests carefully around each other, being sure not to schedule too many at one time (mandated state tests are the exception).  We help them study.  We give them breaks.  And we notice when a child comes in unhappy and talk about why.  We talk to them before the day begins, while they're packing up, while they're in small groups, while walking down the hall.  We talk and we connect.  We know about siblings and grandparents, outside sports and musical awards, new births and deaths in the family.  


Move to middle school and those connections start to waiver.  It seems to me that middle school teachers walk a fine line between wanting that connection and not having time to make the connection.   But they try.


Get to high school and it doesn't even seem to be a concern anymore.  A student can go through high school not connected to any adult.  Move to class, sit in your seat, don't talk, don't volunteer any answers or any information, move to the next class.  See your guidance counselor only when you are told to and then, keep quiet, offering nothing of importance.  Just make sure you do well in class or they might start get interested in you, even if it is only to put you in those "other" classes.  


What does this mean?  The artistic child is never recognized for his gifts.  The slow processor goes home each night to work 3-5 hours more just to keep up.  The depressed child just gets more depressed knowing she has no one to reach out to.  The social child leads and follows her friends, doing just enough in class to get by.  The child whose parents are divorcing, brother just died in a car accident, grandparent moving in, family having financial difficulties...that child is lost.  Who can focus on school when life at home is falling apart?


Who does belong in high school?  
I'm not sure this question has an answer.  I think that the popular kids enjoy high school the most.  They have each other, although sometimes at a great cost.  I think the children of "Tiger Moms" do well in school simply because they have no choice.  I think that's it.  Stoners get stoned on school property and no one notices.  Geeky kids get bullied daily and no one notices.  Girls get pregnant.  Boys deny it's theirs.  Each year there is at least one major weekend incident with a group of kids getting massively drunk and destroying someone's house or wrecking a car.  


Why are these children behaving this way? Would they if they had better connections to adults in their lives?  I don't know the answer.  I just know I have to help my own child.  So, thanks to a conversation with Gary Stager, my daughter is graduating early.  Next year will be her last in high school.  She will receive a regents honors diploma which should put her in good standing to get into the college of her choice.  She will not be taking any more AP classes.  She will finish up her classes while spending half the day at BOCES in a photography program (the class for dummies).  I don't care that she is going to BOCES.  It has a fabulous photography program, complete with graphic arts.  She visited the school for a day and fell in love.  I am determined to make her final year manageable any way I can.  Then off to college, which she dreams about.


So what do you think?  Do I have it all wrong?  High school teachers, fill me in on the reality as you see it.  Those of you who loved high school, tell me why.  Or maybe, let's start to redesign the schools so more students fit in.  Maybe design more like BOCES. What should we do about high school? 




Image:  'When your Hair Just Doesn't work
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7236030@N03/3071556652


 'Electronics Club 1986
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27315689@N00/440680363



 'Exams_by_Majeed
http://www.flickr.com/photos/38126668@N02/4312740974



 'lecture
http://www.flickr.com/photos/23260981@N07/4625331304



'"she said no"
http://www.flickr.com/photos/61228260@N04/5629007416



 '3D Character and Question Mark
http://www.flickr.com/photos/40780016@N02/3914729343

45 comments:

Teacher Mum said...

Interesting post Lisa...lots to think about. I often look at High School teachers and thank God I am not one. I recently gave a lift home to a high school teacher and he was totally gobsmacked that I actually worked in the holidays and went to the trouble to differentiate for each child in my class. Now most elementary school teachers do that. If High School teachers see no benefit in acknowledging each student for who they are, then they are not working towards making the high school experience positive for each student.
I think every high school teacher should read your post.

Magistra M said...

As a high school teacher I applaud you - and your daughter - in your decision to personalize her education in a way that matters and means something to her. I just read a post by George Couros about why his school isn't giving awards at the end of the year. This is the same conversation. We recognize kids for things that are essentially meaningless and we don't encourage and praise children for their hardwork and dedication to those "non-core" subjects that will probably have a lifelong impact. There is a perception that ALL students need to go to college, that ALL students must follow the "above-average" track. This is perpetuated by high schools, colleges, and parents. It is such a struggle to attempt to personalize and individualize instruction when I see nearly 100 students each day, and that when not every class meets each day. My children are just starting elementary school, but I worry that I won't have the ability or resources to provide them with the kind of education they should have when they get to high school. Could I afford to homeschool them, if that makes sense? Find a school that will nurture them? Encourage them to finish early?

takefive said...

I think the truest statement you made was this...the popular kids are the ones who love HS. Everyone just endures it. Out of my 3 kids, 2 did what your daughter is doing...they got out as quickly as possible. As they approach their late 20s, they are still sure that was one of their best decisions. My youngest always remarks how amazing it went from being a HS who was viewed by his teachers as someone to be regulated, told what to do and where to do it in May and by August he was living in a dorm thousands of miles from his parents and trusted to attend classes on his own. He connects (winks) that with his dramatic change from "hating" school to "loving" school.


If kids didn't feel so trapped and imprisoned, I think things would be better. If HS MADE the best teachers teach non-AP and honors courses (because really those kids pretty much teach themselves). If they spent as much money on academic things as they do the sports programs...well, there would be better resources for people to use. Gosh I look at the pools, the gyms, the sports fields...and then the libraries and learning spaces. They don't compare. Our football teams have dozens of coaches, multiple uniforms...and then I look a the debate team....and they have one coach for 50 kids who pretty much meet on their own and do the best they can.

What do we expect? The popular kids are still running the schools and setting the budgets. There are tons and tons of wonderful, caring HS teachers who try and do lots for way too many kids. Until we change the whole idea of HS it's pretty much a place you need to get thru as fast as possible...unless you're a cool kid.

It's why I think so many HS kids live for classes that are art, broadcast, PE, drama, debate and so on. It's where they are passion-based learners...where they feel a connection to the material and have an interest. It's where they can find connection to their teacher and to the other students who want to share the love of that subject.

Tim said...

Lisa, I feel your pain here. I went to 4 schools from 8th grade to 12th. Fitting in wasn't on the agenda. I wasn't interested in AP classes. I made As and Bs without studying and that was just fine with me. I took evening classes at a community college for no credit just to do something I "enjoyed". Congratulations on putting your daughter in a photography class...regardless of the stigma of a building. Let her graduate early and enjoy life.

The district I work in has a fantastic vocational program that most kids want to try. I love that about our system. Does your daughter blog? Maybe she should. Especially with her photography. Her peers may not appreciate it, but the world will.

Anonymous said...

A thought provoking post. It reminded me of something that happened to me when trying to plan my own reunion some years ago. I called a classmate to invite her to the event and was met with anger and eventual tears because of her dreadful experience at school. This has left an enduring impression on me as a teacher and principal. Our schools need to safe and caring places, where the whole child (and all intelligences) are recognised and honoured. "Something for everyone" - even the "misfits". I really have lots to say about this, perhaps you should look at my blog to give you a sense of my beliefs http://www.figuringitouted.blogspot.com. Thanks for great post

Lisa Parisi said...

I am surprised by the comments. I was really hoping someone would tell me how wrong I was.

Teacher Mum, how sad that once you leave elementary school, the work load lessens.

Magistra M, I would have loved to home school my daughter but I honestly don't think I am the best high school teacher for her. I was hoping her school would do better. Maybe college will be the answer for her.

TakeFive, you are so right. The popular kids are still running the schools. We should not have to endure school. We should love to be there every day. Why can't we make high school (and all schools) like that.

Tim, my daughter blogs, has a deviant art page, and loves tumbler. Most of the time she writes about how crappy school is.

Anonymous, I looked at your blog. Love the art week...wondering if it can be all year instead of one week. Poetry slams each Friday,musical galas in the lunch rooms, galleries open and changed monthly, part of the blacktop saved for chalk art, etc. Imagine that.

Camille, 9th Grade said...

The statement you made talking about how the popular kids rule the school and are the only ones who enjoy high school is absolutely true. I feel that this is true because you don't see the kids at the bottom of the pyramid talking about how wonderful their high school experiences are. Personally I do not feel that way in my school. (In a way.) You get that vibe sometimes but our school is pretty "chill." We don't all get along and hang out after school, of course there are groups of friends who only hang out with the people in their "group." But all in all high school isn't as bad as it seems. I've gotten through my Freshman year feeling pretty good. And this may contradict my opinion but it's because high school is what you make it. People depress themselves; people make themselves happy. It can go either way.

Becky, 11 said...

Personally, I really enjoyed readying this. Although I don't hate high school,(I actually love it) I didn't do too hot my Freshman and Sophomore year. During my Freshman year I just wasn't really interested in going to class, I had average grades and was happy when the school year ended. Then during my Sophomore year, things really started to fall apart. I was sick a lot, missed a lot of school, had anxiety before each class when I hadn't shown up in a long time, and basically failed all my classes -- except maybe two. I ended up attending a continuation school for the first semester of my Junior year to make up my credits, just so I wouldn't have to take summer classes and night school. That way I could still have a social life and go on adventures with my family. It was nice to have the opportunity to get back on track. But I partially disagree with some of the stereotypes you made. I feel like Encinal High is a "home" to many, and that's what made me come back to it for second semester and for next year, my Senior year. There are few cliques, if any. But there is still that "main group" of kids who decide what mostly happens for school events. However, I still very much agree with you. My brother was always in the "classes for dummies" and he never really loved high school. Although, he did graduate, and had good grades. As a family, we discuss the BOSCES program and how it probably would have been better for him because he could learn a trade, and not have to worry about all the dramas of high school that were unnecessary for him to deal with. Either way, I am done ranting. I just really wanted to thank you for this article. [:

Ashli said...

Ashli,11
I really agree with Lisa, I am in the 11th grade and I completely HATE high school, and I always have. The only thing I can focus on is graduating I hate waking up every morning knowing I have to be in a place where I am forced to do things I don't like. We should be able to do things we actually like and not be forced to read a terribly boring book and then write a five page essay on it. For what? I get nothing out of it, and I think it's sad that its forced on us. I honestly don't know anyone that loves/loved high school. Or even liked it for that matter.

Chyna, 9 said...

This is a really great observation. I completely understand where you're coming from. Even though I'm only a freshman I can already tell how decisions are made but they can also be made on sports. Like if you play a certain sport people may consider it not a sport or say it doesn't matter. Though I'm not familiar with these "classes for dummies" I think if you are where you feel comfortable you should be able to enjoy school as much as anyone else.

Jia Bao said...

I think that you are right about how the popular kids enjoy high school the most. They are the ones who are always surrounded by people and teachers. When something is wrong, people will rush to comfort them. They simply have this amazing charisma that other kids lack. AP/Honors classes are very stressful but there's not much that anyone can do about that. It's even more lousy when there are problems at home. Personally I don't think that high school is that great. I mean, I've had fun in high school, but there are moments when I simply hate it. Don't get me wrong though. I love school and I love being a student. I just cannot wait to graduate and get started on my life already - my life outside of school.
- Jia Bao, 10th

Saleena, 11th said...

I agree with everything you said. High school is definitely not good for anybody. The ranking is the worst because it can make people feel bad about themselves and speaking for myself I love those "other" classes they are fun. I think you are awesome (even though I do not know you)but I haven't met many adults who understand that high school kind of sucks! I'm so happy I only have a year left. I love your post. Two thumbs up!

josiah said...

Josiah
I think you are right about the fitting in part because I am one of those students who want to fit in but can't.I try not to join any clubs because I think its to "nerdy" so i just found my own friends.I don't really think there is popularity but there is cliques.

dayana said...

I agree with you. High school stresses many teens out. Trying to fit in, taking so many Ap clsssed, keeping up with all the homework that the teachers throw at you and much more. Throughout my whole 3 years of high school, I have been super stresed out. I don't remember the last time I have ever felt relaxed. I finally know at least one parent who knows how their child feels high school. Thank you for sharing with us.
~Dayana M. 11th

marvin0895 said...

Very realistic, this is a fact for all high school and high school students and teachers. It is true that popular kids enjoy kids because they have each other and everyone else supports them. Being a teacher is a very hard work. Because you have to control 100 plus students to pay attention and learn. Writing this is very powerful. Its true that kids do stuff for themselves to fit in even if its the bad choices they make just to get along with others. I myself is a first year high school student. And I've seen this happen all the time. Its not just on high school, even in middle school, hey do this kinda stuff. I experienced doing this for myself. For me to fit in. And it actually works, everyone loves me.

Benjamin said...

when i first had read this , i was sort of entertained because it was talking about why students really need to go to high school/ wow this guy must be insane or something maybe he didn't have popularity like everyone else.(no i am not trying to cyber-bully). As i kept reading it their were a few points that where mentioned that was very much true and easy to relate to .

jack said...

I agree with your statement that high school is not formatted properly. I think a more effective system would be one that focuses more on math, English,science, and a more specific course depending on the individuals future. For example if a young adult plans on doing something in the science field when he or she grows up then I think that schedule should be more in favor of science and math. I believe that in doing so students will be more driven to be successful in their classes, providing a platform in which they will base their future careers. - Jack, 9th

Drew 10th said...

Interesting post. I agree with many points, but not all. I agree that not all students learn the same way. I do think high school has a place for some, maybe not all, but some. I'm glad there are other options for those few who don't succeed in high school such as BOCES. However, I do not agree with the paragraph under the section labeled "Who does belong in high school?". High school never forced these kids make these choices, it's the kids that do. Many people notice these "wrong doings," but it is not the teacher/staff's responsibility. It is the parents' responsibility to make sure that these kids make better decisions. If parents, such as yourself, don't take responsibility for their duties, how can you expect the kids to do the same? Blaming this on "the ways of high school" is foolish.

Cameron said...

I feel that this article has many very true points to all high schools, but from my experiences at my school the social situations are very different. Everybody at my school gets along well and even if people have problems with each other they at least know how to co exist with each other at one school. There are no cliques, there is just groups of friends that hangout together and if other people really want to hang out with them all it takes is that person to try to be there friend. Nobody has the attitude that just because somebody is one race or doesn't have as much money as they do doesn't mean they cant be friends. It might just be my school but I actually feel that kids are evolving a lot socially.

Chris said...

I agree with what you say because most schools are very cliquish and get be very dramatic and difficult. Although my personal believe ,in my experience, it really depends on the culture of the school itself. My school has the normal curricular activities and clubs as well as AP classes as every other school and everyone gets along. It's seen as the chill school where there is barely any drama, good teachers and good students that just work together. We just have much more of a friendly environment but I guess I'm just lucky. Overall I do appreciate you confronting this problem.

Ralph said...

Ralph Dayrit-Atencion_10 grade said...
I believe that some of these are true from other high school. I love the fact that some of these information are right. Are school is a little bit different from our school. Our school( Encinal High school)is one of the school that you may say unique. Sure all of the stuff you said is true and no one can really deny on that. But for our school is just so diverse that we don't really believe in popularity. well i don't. But all these problems are true. No high school is a lot different from other high school. Every school is similar than the other schools. And its hard to believe that you can change at least one high school into one of those perfect high school that teenager's daydream. But high school is one in life time experience that the students may hate or miss. For those people who hate they should just try to survive it. i know its hard but you can do it. High school is fun. You need to participate to have fun with it. you got this!!!!

Gabriel, 9th said...

I've thought also on the subject of what high school is useful for, mostly because of what you've stated in this blog. In high school, so many difficulties make learning harder and keeps people from what they are trying to do.The purpose of high school is to learn, but the only thing that happens there is a social hierarchy. the most popular are in complete control over the school, and no one can do a single thing about it.

My only other thought is, I am the president of a club at Encinal High School, and i do not only choose the most popular to work there. I specifically choose who I want to work there by a series of tests and challenges.

katrese said...

Katrese,9th grader. I learned that people shouln't talk bad about each other, and it hurts people's fellings. One person was talking bad about me. I was so mad and I wanted to do someting about it, but I just walked away and left it alone. I just went on with my day. People should never talk about each other because you don't know them like that. People act bad but they are not. They are good people and they try to act like other people they don't really know.

aaron said...

I learned about how people shouldn't and should do in highschool and i learned about how people act all hard when they are really not.

Roman said...

I respect your opinion on why you feel like high school isn't good for anyone, but I feel like your statement is too drastic. Of course, high school won't be able to accommodate the needs of every student. I feel like the educational system that is set in place today tries to reach out to the majority of students rather than a select few. Unfortunately, schools mostly focus on the core curriculum which is where problems might occur for students looking for an alternative education, rather than the one that has been predetermined for them. I believe that high schools to some extent may not be the best environment for all students but for the students who are on track to move on with their lives it is a necessary step in their life that in the end will benefit them. Whether that student is on the college, vocational training, or job track then high school provides them with the most basic skills they will need to be a conscious citizen.
Roman_12

iceybabe said...

I just want to start off by saying finally someone understands. As a high school student myself, I find it as a fight for survival, a constant competition between you and your fellow students which is in no way enjoyable. It seems to me that unless you somehow find a way to juggle a social life, good grades, extracurricular activities, you'll become noticed by not only your fellow peers but your educators as well. Personally, I wouldn't say that high school is something that I hate, but definitely something that gets old very soon. There's that moment in the race where you're wondering why you're still even competing. I am thankful that you as a parent and a teacher understand the specific things that go on in high school and when we, as teenagers, come home frustrated with our school life its not because "we're just teenagers." I hope that maybe all of us could relate to and agree with your opinion because I can/did. Although I am ending my third year in high school, I'm more focused on getting out than anything else and I think you've pointed out the exact reason why I'm so eager to graduate when this(what now seems to be obvious) has been unnoticed by myself and others for a long time. Thank you and I enjoyed this post very much. -Isis, 11th grade.

Rosetta said...

Hi my name is Rosetta I was really amazed with your blog. You tell how a lot kids are going through different problems. I was like that once and I still am. I try to keep it inside but it just hurts me even more. I talk to people some times but it does not work. I really try not to make myself upset, it works sometimes. Now I have friends to talk to. But I do not hang out with them because of their friends. They talk bad about me. It really upsets me when they do that because I don't feel the same way. It would work if you talked to your daughter about the problems she is going through. It worked for me! Love,Rosetta

Angel said...

This is basically the summary of high school. It describes things pretty accurately except for the dummy classes. I don't really see bad things happening as a result of which class you are taking. Besides that I also don't really see people getting shunned (on purpose) and avoided although I’m sure some of that does happen. High school can be fun but it’s mostly about what you make of it. If you have in your mind how nobody will talk to you, or how someone is going to bully you or just that you hate people in your class. Think like that and sure enough you will have a bad day.

Jennelle said...

I found this to be an incredible article. It reflects on the struggles of being a teenager and explaining why teenagers really feel this way. I found "the need to fit in" rule to be quite interesting. As a teenager, as a person in general, we feel the need to be accepted, especially somewhere in high school where fitting in determines your experiences in high school, making friends, and where you stand on the social ladder.It is true, the coolest kids are the ones who end up loving high school. This is because throughout high school they are socially accepted. In the end, acceptance is everything, especially for young people who yearn for it.

Indigo said...

I think that this article is very interesting especially when he speachs about the "ranking system".

... said...

As a high school student almost ready to leave the doors and enter the adult world. I believe that high school has taught me many lessons and given me many experiences that I will cherish for a lifetime. Having to attend a small high school in the Bay Area, the diversity in our school is really unlike any other. I've learned to be flexible and work well with many different people. I learned to just be yourself and have fun. Despite the many stereotypes about high school being the worse place ever, I think it's the best place ever. I too have times when I just can't wait to leave. But I look back at the times I had at my school and appreciate all the things that have happened to me. High school has made me what I've become. And I'm proud of where I came from and who I am :)

D'mar said...

This is just summing up half the things that go on in a teenager's high school life but there's some things that happen in and out of the class. Popularity is just like a social class thing in high school and all the way at the bottom is the unpopular and in between are the nerd's and bully's. High school is just a place full of drama and teen's now a days go threw a lot and they just put all there anger out on there friends which cause more problems and to me high school is just a huge drama class.

garvyn said...

Any high school is like what you have described it to be. Adults seem to lose interests in their kid's lives which is 100% true. The ranking system is also true on how stress to a teen would cause them to cry and call friends for help. AP classes are also hard to get in because it is filled up every year because it gets you a head start into choosing a college of your choice. Keeping up your social status is key in high school, and if you don't you are potentially just a kid that goes to high school. BOCES is most similar to our VAPA classes here at Encinal High. Adults sometimes do not understand our stress, though we are not yet in the working field we are constantly in a class working hard to get letter grades.

hellabella510 said...

This blog is an accurate description of high school, but some parts, particularly the part about clubs are not always true. At my high school, you can actually make your own club, and you don't have to be friends with anyone to be a leader or play an active role in a club. Also, the part about people fitting in is not always true, due to the fact that cliques exist in almost all high schools, and almost everyone is in a clique. When I say everyone, I mean everyone; including the geeks. Therefore, the only people who don't fit in at all in high school are the ones who don't have or believe in cliques. Overall, however, this article is accurate, and can be applied to almost every high school.

Winnie said...

I felt that a lot of what you said about high school was really true. Although my high school is really diverse and everyone seems to fit in, there are still a lot of cliques and a group of people pretty much make the decisions for our class. We see the same people running for class officers each year. I also think that the class rank really influences us as high school students. The top students in our class are all signing up for as many AP classes as they can, sometimes just because they think that if they don't sign up for a certain class and others do, then their rank will go down. In addition, there is also the belief that if we sign up for some of the "other" (possibly more fun) classes, then we will be with the not-so-smart students. Then other students might look down on us for it. Sometimes,I really look forward to college because it gives us a chance to start over and break out of all these cliques.
-Winnie 11th

Aaron said...

Your post has a a numerous amount of good points that can bee proven but High School also has its positives. I know popular kids are expected to be the ones everyone wants to hang out with but you don't have to try to fit in. My thing is don't try to fit in try to stand out and you will have people that would want to hang out with you. Yes you have to deal with the stress of a lot of work but your hard work will always pay off. Finally bonds between the student and teachers don't have to be a perfect relationship like best friends. As long as your teachers knows your trying and you always show that you put your effort in, your work and your teachers will love you. In conclusion just know that High School isn't the hardest thing in life; High School is a journey that everyone should have to take. trust me, I'm in high school and I love it. <3

Miles said...

This is a pretty accurate summary of what high school is like. I found it very true and funny when they said that in elementary school, teachers give their students a lot of attention while in high school, they never seem to pay attention to you. Thought I think that high school isn't as bad as he says it is, It's not really fun at times but it's not a horrible experience.

beheshta said...

I really enjoyed reading this blog because as a high school student I feel you really hit some key points about high school, yes you are going through puberty, awkward stages, embarrassing moments and a whole lot of trying to figure out who you are in the world. however you make it seem all bad when in fact it's not, once you pass all the awkwardness and you kind of begin to know yourself better, high school becomes pretty great. I mean personally I met some of my best friends in high school.
-beheshta kohgadai

sofia said...

I really like your blog very very much because currently as a high school student puberty is one of the main changes that happen to you you during the for years you attend high school. I agree 100% about your blog.when I was a freshman about three years ago I had some tough times in the beginning of high school I was really immature I had hard times taking tests. And especially embarrassing moments.

aaron.serbia said...

I definitely know that at some other high schools, there's these clicks or tiers or ranks of some sort and it separates everyone at the school, which effects everyone in those groups like gossip, backstabbing, or bad mouthing about some kid in the other rank/click which then all this drama and fuss is now underway. But here at Encinal High, its a pretty small, close knit community and everyone here pretty much treats themselves as equals. There is the occasional gossip or secret about someone but it's never taken too far. Kids here, or at least I, feel like I don't need to become someone else to fit in or feel depressed of not fitting in because the majority of kids here already do fit in by being themselves, which makes high school easy and amazing.

sierra said...

This article is ALMOST an accurate description of high school. I like that it went into details and broke down every single group that there is in high school("read the sarcasm here"). There is more to high school than the typical social classes that they portray in movies.I personally know plenty of people that appear to be perfect and popular but truly are the depressed ones. There are tons of people that I know who appear to be straight edge and are the main ones trying the latest drug every weekend.In the article it also says that the bond that the teachers had with their students from elementary school until now has changed.I believe that there is a point to this, high school is to prepare us for the real world. If we are babied in high school then we more than likely would be expecting that same treatment on the job.In reality , that wont happen.Back to my main point here , the typical high school stereotypes are only some what true. There is much more to school than what is portrayed.
-Sierra Lynard-

Dana Ramos said...

Based on my experiences as I freshman, I somewhat disagree with some of your thoughts. Instead, I think teens are influenced by the type of high school they are learning from. It depends on its atmosphere and curriculum; if you feel comfortable and expressive in your high school atmosphere. Previously, I attended a high school in the valley and absolutely HATED every second of it. I constantly felt insecure, and teens were very clique-ish and hidden away. There, the very definition of POPULAR was being part of school activities and being the brightest brainiac out there. I convinced my mom to switch schools to the bay area (hometown) and move in with my grandma in order to attend Encinal High School. Since then, I think it has been the best decision I've ever made in my life by far. Everyone is laid back and I don't feel the pressure to fit in at all, compared to my previous high school. Teen to teacher connection is important, yes, but again I think it still depends on your high school. Teen to teacher connection hasn't vanished at all. Teachers must learn to make a connection to teens, especially since they have already been through their teen phase. Because of this, I believe high school teachers also have the job to help their students get through obstacles, significantly because high school determines your future. I think your explanation on "fitting in" is very cliche, and I honestly thought that we have past all that in our generation. In my opinion, one's perspective of high school SOLELY depends on the student and what they think about it. In truth, I feel indifferent, while others feel depressed and such. I agree with the idea that schools should be redesigned, but maybe to make school both engagingly fun, memorable, and educating.

Dat said...

It seems like you were the one who had been through a lot of troubles in high school. I used to think the same way when I was in Vietnam; classes there were boring.You simply don't have any opportunities to prove yourself. You cannot choose the classes that you're interested in. The schools don't ever provide you free supplies. You have to pay for the school fees that are really high compared to the income that you are able to get, etc. But here, in the US, you have the opportunity to choose your own classes; you don't have to pay for the school fees; teachers usually provide school supplies for students who don't care about their future and waste their time sneaking out the halls after 10 minutes of being annoying in class. I, personally, am not a good student. I skip homework sometimes, but I love attending school and participating in events. I too sometimes find myself hard to fit in to the community because of my English speaking skills and accents. But still, I overcame the fear. In the first months when I came to America, I couldn't communicate with anyone but some Vietnamese friends,but the teachers helped me A LOT. They gave me advice,free books, and the opportunity to improve my English skills by introducing me to after-school and summer-school programs. I think children here are really lucky. Compared to other countries that are at the top of the world's economy, such as China, many students have to quit school in order to help their families. Some have never had a chance to step into a classroom to learn a,b,c,d... So if you are complaining about schools, think again. Is it the school that is giving you problems or is it just you troubling yourself?

Thays said...

In two weeks I will be a High School graduate. I'm glad a new phase of life is ahead of me. College, yes! I attend Encinal High School, and personally never had a major problem. My school is probably different from others. For instance, Alameda High (another school of my city) is known to be full of racial cliques. At Encinal, we are all mixed. Hence why we hardly have any problems. My High School career was nice. Nothing too memorable. Here, you can join an AP Class if you want to. You don't have to be selected. I can honestly say that I was serious when it was time for it, and I had fun when the time was fit. I enjoyed my years of High School.

Donna said...

Your article is reasonable and could probably apply to most of the high schools out there. But one high school that doesn’t apply to one of your statements about how there are certain cliques that exclude people is Encinal High School. You see, our school is filled with many unique people. At EHS you can see an athlete hanging out with a “nerd” without being embarrassed one bit. Everybody is friends with each other, no matter what category you fit in, either an athlete, cheerleader, geek, artist, skater, or an overachiever. Nobody is excluded! Clubs are made by a student who organizes one. They don’t pick a person to be in a certain position just cause there best friends with them, they pick a person who they find fits the job & will accomplish everything that is being thrown to them successfully. “I think that the popular kids enjoy high school the most.” Your statement is true about “popular” kids though. But the only reason why I feel like they find high school more exciting is just because they have a lot of friends. They have a lot of people surrounding them because most of those people want to be friends with them due to their coolness and want a similar reputation as them or simply just want to fit in. But little do they know is that they are displayed in the school as “followers”. Now lets compare a person who is unsocializing and has only a little bit of friends. Wouldn’t they dislike high school just because there talking to the same boring people, and are not experiencing anything fun because there is nobody else for them to hangout with? You may either find high school unforgettable because you’ve had many enjoyable memories, but you may think the opposite and want to forget all the memories that you had during those years. It really depends on that person there decisions on how they’ll make their high school years.


-Donna, 9th grader