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“Should Have, Could Have: What Parents Regret About High School”

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There’s a very interesting article in Education Week today titled “Should Have, Could Have: What Parents Regret About High School.” A college professor shares answers to one of ten questions he has his students ask his parents about high school. The question he focused on in the article is:

If you could travel back in time, what would you change—in your own behavior or in the school itself—to make your high school experience better?

The article got me thinking that it might be useful to have students ask these kinds of questions while they’re still in high school. It could be a useful reflective activity that maybe — just maybe — have some sore of useful impact, and not just be an interesting academic exercise.

The article doesn’t share the other questions the professor used in his survey, but I thought I’d share the ones I came up with for my students ask (you can download the form here). I’m going to give them the option of asking a parent, grandparent, guardian or older sibling/cousin who is already out-of-school.

The questions are:

1. What were the two or three most important things you learned in high school? Why were they so important? How did you learn them?

2. If you could travel back in time, what would you change—in your own behavior or in the school itself—to make your high school experience better? (this is obviously the professor’s question, and it’s a good one)

3. What teacher did you learn the most from? Why do you think you learned the most from him/her?

4. What advice would you give to a student to help him/her have a good high school experience?

I’m thinking that the dialogue (and subsequent sharing in class) might result in some reflection on my students’ part about what they are doing now. It might also give me a little better sense of their home environment.

I’ll share in a future post what comes out of it all. In the meantime, please leave suggestions for other questions you think might be useful….

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. I’m so glad there was no youtube and camera phones When I was a teenager.

  2. I only wish I had had a teacher that gave me this questionnaire. I do think back about things I could have done better or differently in high school. This would have given me a chance to step back and take a look at what I could change when I was in high school instead of wishing I had done things differently in some areas (12 years later!). Great tool for teachers! Thanks!

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