DR. WALLACE: This week is prom for juniors and seniors at my school. The prom is from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., but I was invited to go to an after-party once the prom ends. This would take me out beyond my normal curfew time, but since this is a special occasion, I feel it would be fair for me to be able to stay out a bit later, perhaps 12:30 a.m. or so, with a hard deadline of being in bed by 1 a.m.
I do not usually get invited or included in these types of events, but a friend of mine said I could come with her. She is very familiar with these events, as she’s well known as a social butterfly by all of our fellow students.
The issue, though, is the person whose house the after-party is scheduled at has a reputation of letting anything go when their parents are not there. In the past there were rumors of drinking and doing drugs there five months ago at a holiday party. My parents know that I don’t drink or do drugs, so that part of the situation shouldn’t hurt my chances.
Now, if there will be drinking and drugs this time, that wouldn’t appeal to me. But on the other hand, it’s also one of the last opportunities I have to be with all the people in my grade before I graduate high school. Many of us will never be together again once everyone scatters after graduation.
Should I go to this last big event? If so, what should I tell my parents about it, if anything? — Last chance to mingle, via email
LAST CHANCE TO MINGLE: Do not attend this party behind your parents’ back. Find out if there will be parents there to chaperone the event or not. If this turns out to be another party with teens only, featuring drinking and drug use, you are much better off to stay away.
Invite a few of your good friends and even some casual acquaintances to an event on a Saturday afternoon instead. Perhaps you could arrange a trip to your local movie theater for a dozen or more students to attend a matinee viewing together. Alternatively, you could set up a nature hike or a trip to your favorite fast-food restaurant. My point is that you can find other ways to connect with your close and even casual friends without having to run the gauntlet of an unsupervised, late-night, alcohol-infused party that might not end well.
THIS TEACHER’S CLASS IS TOO EASY!
DR. WALLACE: I have a teacher who is too easy! I know you probably don’t get many letters like this, but for me it’s totally true. This teacher is a successful sports coach at our school, and many of his top players on his team sign up for this class.
He’s also known as an easy grader, so since I’m a strong student I will definitely get an A grade in his class when school ends soon in the middle of June. I’m writing to you since I’m a junior and I’m afraid I might get put into one of his classes again next year.
I fear that I might fall behind with my preparations for entering college with as much baseline knowledge as possible. I take each subject in school seriously, and I don’t think his classes help me prepare for college enough. What should I do if I get him as a teacher again in the fall? — Serious student, via email
SERIOUS STUDENT: If you do find yourself in a class of his during your senior year, ask to meet him in his office during the second week of school. Let the first week pass, as so much is going on then that it’s not the best time to approach a teacher for your particular purposes.
But when you do set up a meeting, explain to him that you wish to be challenged as much as possible on the subject matter of the class. Ask him if you can work ahead on any advanced material to help you get the most out of your time and learning experience. You might also volunteer to act as a teacher’s aide if appropriate for your particular school and school district. In some areas of the country, schools allow excellent students to assist teachers in preparing class assignments, class lectures and material reviews, for example.
In cases like this, the teachers still give all lectures, but some students can help shape those lectures with the goal of providing the maximum benefit to all of the students in the class.
You can also study this particular class’s subject by going online and reading up on college prep examples on your own. My advice here is to be proactive. I commend you on being a serious student with goals for learning that go beyond your high school years. Be sure to discuss this matter with your parents and your high school principal to be sure everyone is on board if you are to become an “in class” teacher’s assistant.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.