Senior High School (SHS) covers the last two years of the recently introduced K to 12 program and comprises Grades 11 and 12, where students are expected to go through a core curriculum and specialized courses under their chosen track and strand. As guaranteed, these two additional years will help equip SHS students with preparatory skills for future employment, entrepreneurship, technical and vocational skills development, and higher education.
When K to 12 program was introduced, it became an instant talk of the town and drew negative reactions mostly on the unpreparedness of the Philippine government and the additional financial burden to sponsoring parents. Despite these calls and Supreme Court petitions for deferment, senior high school pilot implementations were pushed through across the country.
Yes, I took part in this educational system overhaul. Without prior training and in-depth understanding of this program then, I was involuntarily selected to facilitate a beta test instruction with a pilot class of 15 half-convinced senior high school (SHS) students.
Although all I had to worry about then was the execution of lessons because a package of conducive facility, instructional materials, and lesson plans has always been a trademark of the institution (what I’m talking about is the country’s largest network of schools to pioneer Senior High School program), I would always struggle securing students’ learning outcomes as demanded by the curriculum.
However demanding it was, I believe I somehow delivered at par with standards and expectations. Sooner, I was convinced that behind the bombarding performance tasks and activities lies a guarantee of profitable skills and a global competitiveness certificate.
With years of teaching experience in senior high school, I must say that I have observed how students learn to embrace the program, meet expectations, and achieve academic success.
In this article, I’ll give you 25 helpful tips and pieces of advice on how to ride out the challenges and demands of being a senior high school (SHS) student. You might want to share these tips as well with your other friends who are preparing for the opening of classes in June.
1. Reflect on Your SHS Track and Strand Choice.
You’re not alone in your dilemma with senior high school track and strand choices. If you’re still undecided, solicit suggestions from your parents, former teachers, and even other SHS students, but do not get brainwashed.
You might need a little research, and reflect on your choice. Believe me, you cannot afford the hassle of shifting neither the burden of pursuing a course you don’t like.
2. Assess Your Strengths and Interests.
To make informed decision about your SHS track and strand, do the analysis of your inclinations and strengths, interests, and career paths.
Senior High School (SHS) program in the Philippines offers four tracks and specific strands: Academic Track (General Academic Strand (GAS), Humanities and Social Sciences Strand (HUMSS), Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Strand (STEM), and Accountancy, Business and Management Strand (ABM)), Technical-Vocational-Livelihood Track (Agri-Fishery Arts Strand, Home Economics Strand, Industrial Arts Strand, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strand), Sports Track and Arts and Design Track.
3. You’re Already a Senior. Claim It.
Senior high school can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Claiming your high school seniorhood comes with a new degree of social expectations and responsibilities. You’re a year or two to your legal age and the society already expects you behaving as one. In other words, you’re demanded a little maturity.
4. Embody the Philosophy of Your School.
As soon as you enroll yourself in the school of your choice, you embrace a new family. Sounds a cliché, you will be asked to memorize and embody the vision and mission statements of your school. Anyway, all schools share the same solid philosophy – get you educated.
5. Introduce Yourself, Your Skills, and Potential.
You need not stand out, but keep a showcase of your brand. Introducing yourself, skills, and potential to the people around attracts opportunities for you to grow more. For instance, if your senior high school teacher knows that you speak well, then you might be recommended to host a school event, and it’s a big opportunity.
6. Focus on Long-Term Learning Outcomes.
When you focus on long-term learning outcomes, you gather the major pieces of the puzzle and see the bigger picture of your goal. Direct all your learning efforts to your career path and not just to your academic ends.
7. Remind Yourself About Grading Systems and Your Academic Standing.
Keeping track of academic standing and aware of grading systems will help you strategize your studies (and save your voucher). With a conscious effort, you can overcome your waterloos and take inclinations to the next levels.
8. Break Your Procrastination Habit.
Take procrastination as a serious problem. Don’t wait for the performance tasks and written requirements to pile up and start doing them a few days or a night before deadlines. As always, you want to satisfy your teachers with quality, and not rushed, outputs.
9. Get Organized.
Keep a journal or a planner and start plotting requirements and deadlines. Without one, there is a danger of missing out an overnight essay homework or forgetting a personal research on a topic vaguely discussed during the lecture.
10. Balance Your Academics and Extracurricular Activities.
Extracurricular activities are a significant part of senior high school holistic learning experience. Whether an active participation in student organizations, sports, academic and talent competitions, or outreach programs, extracurricular activities complement academics. However, you must keep a balance of these two areas.
11. Don’t Complain. Comply First.
Your teachers are not just tripping around, terrorizing you with nearly unrealistic academic workloads. Yes, they may be putting your limits to a test, but trust me, these are grounded on objectives. After all, without challenges, senior high school life is dull, boring.
12. Keep Projects and Performance Above Expectations.
Don’t settle for mediocrity. Always strive for excellence. Take every project and performance, major or minor, a chance to bring out the best that you can do. In the same way, don’t take a simple classroom presentation a practice rather an actual professional or business presentation.
13. Improve Your Communication Skills.
Yes, absolutely. Your outside world, the actual corporate arena, has laid not a red carpet but a stiff competition, and communication skills are on top of the most sought after attributes of an educated person. You can start boosting your confidence and refine your linguistic competence afterwards.
14. Keep Your Reading Ahead of the Lecture.
Teachers, however thick their portfolios are, don’t always tell you accurate information. Well, I don’t imply that you always cross-examine their words. You also have a share of responsibility in your education so take time keeping your research and reading ahead of the classroom lecture as soon as you get a copy of the course syllabus.
15. Always Listen and Focus on Meaning.
I say, you improve your communication skills, but keep your mouth connected to your ears. Successful communication starts with a good grasp of the whole situation, and that is possible with you listening well and focusing on meaning.
16. Don’t Be Scared to Ask Questions.
I remember my professor in Sociolinguistics who would always start his lecture with, “Don’t be afraid to raise a question even if it’s a stupid one. I’ll do my best to answer it.” Whenever you’re doubtful about something, don’t keep it dipped in ignorance. Try to reach out to your teachers and ask questions.
17. Build an Open Communication with Your Parents.
If you believe you’re still on the right track but you made something to disappoint your parents, tell them soon and ditch your guilt feeling. At your age, you must admit that many of your decisions remain flawed, and you still need guidance. After all, parents will always be parents. What they need is a little time to understand your mistakes and frailties, and that doesn’t take too long.
18. Develop Good Spending Habits.
You don’t want to look penniless whenever you need to shell out for group projects. Create a working budget out of your weekly or monthly allowance and take control of your spending. You might also consider spending less on junk food, videogames and other fancy stuff.
19. Deliver Yourself in a Professional Way.
Meeting deadlines and extending courtesy at all times are simple acts of professionalism. Delivering yourself in a professional way complements with showcasing your best attributes, your brand.
20. Start Bringing Out the Classiness in You.
Look at yourself in the mirror. You don’t need a total makeover, do you? What you need is a little conscious effort to improve your grooming. Of course, you want to look good, smell fresh, and boost your appeal especially whenever your crush is around.
21. Make Friends and Networks.
Making friends and broadening a network can be a good social investment. Think of it. Your senior high school friends and acquaintances can be potential business partners and clients in the future ventures.
22. Surround Yourself with Proactive People.
It’s true. In senior high school, collaborative learning is emphasized, hence more group tasks and more people to deal with. Perhaps, you have read an article or heard around a comparison between proactive and reactive people, and why you are advised to be with the former.
While reactive people let situations define their response and blame their mistakes on others, proactive people take time to think before they react. Also, proactive people always look ahead at future activities and expect needs, problems, and outcomes.
If you’re not a proactive person and you want to be one, then you better surround yourself with these people and change your perspective of things.
23. Don’t Waste a Good Mistake.
Okay, I surrender. You’re still young, wild, and free. Go seize the day, and learn from the consequences of your actions. Anyway, it’s pointless wallowing in mistakes with feelings of shame and remorse and by beating yourself up for your stupidity.
24. Enjoy Your Senior High School Life.
Whenever you feel it’s almost a hell because of heavy academic workloads, hard-to-please teachers, and uncooperative team members, take a deep breath, step back for a while, and find a short time to relax. At the end of the school year, you will surely realize that these have just spiced up your senior high school life.
Your senior high school (SHS) is yet another act of academic drama. It can be both exhilarating and exhausting, but that is life. You better embrace what challenges and opportunities it offers as no doubt they spice up your experience of continuous growth and learning. You better be strong and responsive to the demands and expectations of your new environment, but stay young and hungry chasing your dreams. So, good luck on your senior high school life!