Ask not for whom the bell tolls… it’s for you, cool guy. We asked our staff writers to think back to high school and share what they were like during homeroom. Raise your hand, say you’re present, and let’s get on with the school day.
Homeroom… I can almost smell those odoriferous young classmates mixed with the clingy aroma of our lunchroom menu.
My homeroom, Mr. Workman’s corner local on the third floor, gave me the perfect opportunity to catch up on assignments I needed to finish, or complete homework before leaving school. Unfortunately, I rarely took advantage of those opportunities.
I spent most of my time there being anything but scholastically productive. I would write a new chapter of my poetic serial Agent FTS (F**k That $#+%), honing my Rudy Ray Moore/Dolemite replication. I would daydream about what might happen in the next issue of X-Men, my favorite comic book. I would even doodle detailed diagrams of how I would defeat whatever Super Nintendo video game I was obsessing over.
Five members of our football team sat behind me. When they weren’t cracking jokes, they’d pester me about what I was writing.
A lot of poseurs out there will talk about how they fell in love with that handsome Andersoon Cooper after seeing him on CNN.
A few others will say they knew he was the silver fox of their dreams after his two turns on the horrifically underrated reality TV show The Mole. Jeff Probst could NEVER…
But the true OGs first felt an unknown stirring in their loins when Mr. Cooper began reading the headlines of the first Channel One broadcast during their first Freshman Year homeroom.
What is this feeling? How does one man make news so… SEXY? Yes, talk dirty to me about a plastic shortage in Kentucky and the benefits of physical activity, Anderson. You look like you could be my older brother’s college roommate who stared just a little too long at me when I was moving him into his dorm—and I think I liked it.
Excuse me, Mr. Carty, ummm… I need to excuse myself to the men’s room.
Also, who didn’t want to BE Lisa Ling?
Homeroom, which is now referred to as Advisory, may or may not have existed at Lawrence High School, home of the Chesty Lions. We had some weird block schedule on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the second period of the day was possibly called homeroom. Or study hall. I don’t know. But I do know that the auditorium and lighting booth/costume room doors were left unlocked for some reason, and that is where I could be found. Probably napping or reading. One time the hatch to the catwalks was unlocked and I spent the hour giving myself vertigo.
In high school, I wasn’t exactly a punctual student. You would have most likely found me rolling up *very* late to homeroom, Diet Coke in hand, having just narrowly avoided death in the form of my sister gunning our Ford Focus through the local neighborhoods to get to school by 8:19.
Spoiler alert: they did not make it by 8:19. Often, they didn’t make it to at all. Instead, the sisters could be found eating copious amounts of breakfast food at the local diner. It’s a wonder we both graduated.
Homeroom: Noun. A 40-minute productivity desert inexplicably helmed by only male coaches who ignored us as they watched game tape and drank stale coffee; that free mid-morning period where my friends and I perfected the art of shortening our uniform skirts by rolling the waistband just enough to catch the attention of a boy but not the scornful eye of the Headmaster, who liked to carry a ruler so he could measure the distance between our knee caps and the hem of our skirts, lingering a bit too long on the exposed flesh of our lower thighs; the room where I tried Stacy’s self-tanner (circa 1988) on my hands and legs before Homecoming; the room where I spent a week explaining to Coach why I was orange when he looked away from his tapes.
For four years, my overachieving ass was in the student council homeroom. While all the other normies found alphabetical friendship for 20 minutes before heading to first period, I was with the other class officers of the Class of 2001, doing important things like nothing special and worrying about how to fund the prom.
The good news is that we sold lots of candy in the hallways and raised a ton of cash by hosting dances with a cheap ass DJ (he was the “cool uncle” of one of our classmates), so the prom was a smashing success. The great news is that we shared this homeroom with class officers from other years, which includes my best friend Bradley Bennett, who is an absolute gem.
Miss Cargill was my 12th grade homeroom teacher. She MIGHT have been 23, but the illusion of the teacher/student power structure made us think she was an actual adult. I was late every morning because I walked my girlfriend to her homeroom first, but Miss Cargill never marked me late because she thought it was sweet. She played Channel 1 muted so we could talk instead of watching a pre-The View Lisa Ling and a bunch of Clearasil commercials.
At prom, I asked Miss Cargill to dance while my friends stood there, slack-jawed with envy. I’m sure she knew what was happening, but she was cool about it.
When I wasn’t in student council homeroom, I was absolutely killing it on the morning announcements, also known as “Wyo5Live,” greeting my fellow students with the daily lunch menu and sports schedule, and starting the broadcast every morning with an enthusiastic “Good morning, Wyo!” My friends Alexa, Chelsea, and I worked our way up from the crew, operating the cameras and switching shots, to actually reading the announcements on our school’s video feed during homeroom every day. The best part of doing Wyo5Live was getting to give out shoutouts at the end, after reading the announcements. I gave an unreasonable number of shoutouts to the Buffalo Bills and my fellow soccer team members. Did this lead to my current career in media production? It’s quite possible. But it was also just really fun to goof off with my friends in front of the entire student body.
At my school, homeroom was schedule add-on that we got once a month for special occasions-important announcements, yearbooks, schedules, and the always fun student drug, alcohol, and tobacco survey. So, like every awkward, introverted student who had to work up the courage to speak to people she saw every day in class let alone those she sometimes only saw once a month because of a shared last initial, I generally used the time to get ahead on homework. Time without homework and without school was a scarce commodity, and I wasn’t about to let my chance at a few extra minutes of it go to waste. Even as I started to socialize more, I usually had a textbook in front of me. After all, when the high school Gods give you a random half an hour, you don’t squander it.
Parlance like “homeroom” makes one cogitate about people who are in decision-making positions of the educational system. Also, how these people manage to consistently pass drug tests. There’s nothing “homey” about homerooms— you’re only in that shit for 15 min a day, there are no couches, snacks, televisions, or game consoles. It may be a room, but has as much to do with home as Rush Limbaugh does with a pulse (not #TooSoon, fuck that guy). Even my homies weren’t in the same homeroom as me for reasons, as told to us, “…were for our individual benefit and that of the entire school.” The genius of homeroom is that of the teachers’ unions who clearly got one over on the capitalist establishment, for if Miss Tobin, my 8th grade homeroom teacher, proved when she’d return from “having to run to her car” after kind of taking attendance—the unions got the teachers a smoke break paid for by the state—and that is nicotinacious AF.
In public school, homeroom smelt of French fries and Doritos, as my group met in the cafeteria. When I moved to private school, homeroom smelt of leather chairs and oriental rugs; the accoutrements of my advisor’s office. My advisor was the Head of School.
Most mornings I sat resentfully in his cushy office, carefully watching him and interjecting the occasional sarcastic barb. Until the morning he announced the school was planning to revoke smoking privileges on campus, as the legal smoking age was increasing. This threatened my friends and our hang-out spot; impossible. And suddenly I moved from sullen to pissed off and motivated. I spent the next several mornings actively arguing my case like a one-woman debate team. It never worked. “Perspective, Heather, you need perspective,” he would always say.
Perspective has always been a challenge for me; even now. Headmaster, I salute you all these years later, for having my number.
“Wow, Mustafa, great job waking up and joining the Google Meet!” says Ms. Tevanian.
“Ahhh, Wasta sputadoo,” says one of my classmates.
“Oh, make sure you’re muted everyone; there is background noise,” Ms. Tevanian says. “We will vote on playing either Rock Paper Scissors, Guess The Sound, or I Spy!” She pauses. “Oh yes, Maryam, your hand is raised.”
“I’m so excited!” she responds.
“Oh yeah me too!” says Ms. Tevanian.
“Please stop spamming in the chat.” “John, no swearing, I have to kick you out of the meeting. We’ll meet together after morning meeting to talk about this.” “No, no, I promise never again—please let me stay.” “I’m sorry but I have to kick you out, goodbye.”
“Tweecher, what are we doing? These instructions are confusing,” says Treyvon.
“We are voting on what game to play,” Ms. Tevanian answers. “Oh, it looks like we used up our time anyways with all this, goodbye!”
In my high school homeroom didn’t exist. Instead if we arrived at school early most of us just found a spot to hang out until the bell rang that summoned us to our first period class. Some kids chose the computer lab, others the weight room. Me? I found myself in the library every morning either browsing the shelves looking for the next great book, frantically doing homework that was due that day that should have been finished several days prior or playing old flash games on the computers in the back of the room.
Those 15 minutes or so really defined my high school years. It’s where my family of misfits found each other, it’s where I developed my love of reading and writing, and it’s where I first got to know the girl who would become my fiancée.