Understanding the Advisor/Advisee Relationship

Posted by Karin Clough


At Proctor, we care deeply about the relationship between the advisee and the advisor. We value the time we spend together each day in advisory, assembly, and at school events. Our advisory groups become safe havens where we talk about the issues on campus, the plans for the next trimester, or the upcoming dance. Sometimes we meet at the dining hall, at the Wise, or in a faculty home, and it is always good when there is food. Advisory provides a chance to slow down, have a conversation, or laugh together. For me, it is my favorite time of the day.


I was reminded of the depth of advisor/advisee relationships when I had the opportunity to spend time with an advisee from the Class of 2012. She and I met this summer for coffee, and as we took a long walk, she talked about her plans to apply to medical school, her summer job, her family, and her excitement about her future. I have known her since she was a ninth grader, a fourteen year old full of curiosity and joy. We went on Wilderness Orientation together eight years ago and I remember her determination to swim everyday, and she did, finding a river, stream, or beautiful mountain pool.  As I talked to this confident and vibrant twenty-two year old, I felt an immense sense of pride, not just because of her accomplishments, but because of the young woman she has become--creative, resilient, and ethical--descriptors right out of the “Profile of a Proctor Graduate”.


We all have moments as faculty when a former student or advisee returns to Proctor or re-connects with us, and we realize how amazing it is to see the growth, hear the confidence in their voices, as they tell us their life plans. Sometimes we cannot believe the changes the person has made, and sometimes we feel like we knew all along that this was the direction they were going. In these moments, the world crystallizes and the work we do everyday all makes sense. The time we have spent with advisees, the conversations, the support, the questioning, and guiding, all connects, and we listen with delight as they share their stories. 

This is the gift parents give their children when they invite Proctor into their family’s life. Children will connect with a favorite advisor, teacher, or coach, and this bond will last a lifetime. I am fortunate enough to see my own three children interact daily with their advisors as Proctor students. They each have a different relationship with the adults in their lives, but the constant is the mutual respect, genuine caring, and seemingly endless positive encouragement they each receive. I see how valuable those additional adult relationships can be at a time when teens naturally seek independence from their parents. Our children need role models and advocates who can expand their understanding of the world and how to live in it gracefully.

Learn more about Proctor's advisor system!


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