Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Georgia How My Perspectives Changed as an Adviser
Darlington School: Private Boarding School in Rome, GA
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How My Perspectives Changed as an Adviser

Cristy Baldwin | May 10, 2016 | 731 views

Coming to work at Darlington was the greatest decision I made this year. At the beginning of this year I was really looking forward to all my classes. I was ready for the challenges that this new experience would bring. I prepared my classes and my materials. I was ready to go!

The classes went great. Both big and small classes were fun and interesting. My biggest struggle was my advisee period with our eighth-grade girls.

You see, I am a mother to two boys. I could say I have an idea of how to raise and counsel boys—but girls? I'm not a "girlie girl." I knew from my prior experience that there is no moody like "teenage girl moody." I also knew that if girls don't like you, they would not be very forgiving. What was I to do with these teenage girls?

I decided to start with the school basics. I knew what to do to keep them organized. I worked on making sure they knew how to stay on top of their assignments. We discussed how to study for classes. They wrote thank you notes to someone who had touched their lives. But most of all, I tried to get to know them. My first two weeks in the advisory program, I worked really hard trying to figure out how to bond with these girls. 

Through the fall activities, Dot Day, the kickball tournament, the ELA-8 Halloween Parade, I learned that they were a lot of fun. We were all very competitive, and more than anything we wanted to have fun. I attended some of their sports events. We played games, shot baskets, jumped rope, learned to play dominos. We seriously bonded.

As we got ready to participate on Field Day, I had learned a couple of things about my girls:

1) They can't make up their minds as to what they want.

2) They love each other and would do anything for each other.

3) Sometimes they just need to be heard.

4) Life is easier when you have a friend.

5) Hugs solve a lot of life problems.

I look forward to seeing them and talking to them every day. I can honestly say I am really sad to see these girls move onto the Upper School.

When I was asked what grade I would be interested in having as advisees next year, I immediately responded...eighth-grade girls! 

These girls have touched and impacted my life more than they will ever know. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to meet them and spend time with them. I look forward to seeing them keep growing and becoming responsible adults in the future. I hope they'll remember me with as much fondness as I will remember them.

Darlington's Advisory Program for grades 6-8 seeks to ensure that every student is a success, as defined by Darlington’s mission statement. Advisers work with the student, the family and the rest of the faculty to ensure that he or she has a positive learning experience during the middle school years. Advisee groups meet once a week. This time allows the adviser to effectively track each advisee’s progress academically, socially and emotionally.