I recently started employment at a private school and was floored for a few weeks by what I saw there as compared to public school. Upon starting this new job, I saw the care and attention that was tailored to the individual students at the private school. Most of the children are in the top ten percent of testing. They are extremely clever and talented in a variety of subjects like art and physical activities.
One kindergartner named Thomas (name has been changed) is a well known trouble-maker. One day as one of the teachers was explaining the properties of what makes a molecule a molecule, Thomas was doing his usual song and dance to not pay attention. Another teacher called Thomas over to stand right in front of her.
“Thomas, get over here, right in front of me!” Thomas walked over to her, stood right in front of her and asked her one question.
“Do you mean on these molecules here?”
The kids are clever and smart. How many people know a kindergartner who knows what a molecule is? But with this intelligence that private school provides also comes some challenges. All of these children will be stuck with the same students as they work through the grades. A lot of people would think not having to make new friends every year would be a blessing, but in this situation, I don’t think it’s beneficial to the kids. These kindergartners will continually be with the same people. They will never have to stretch their social skills and will never get the opportunity to succeed or fail to learn what is socially acceptable.
As these kids get older they won’t be offered different subjects that focus on a specific skill. They won’t be able to take an auto class if they’re interested in cars like at a public school. Art and dance is part of the curriculum, but not a specific type like jazz. They may not be able to choose between taking a painting class or a drawing class. The education is tailored towards everyone taking the same classes and not having an option on what they want to learn.
When I was in school, I remember deliberating on the classes I was offered for days. I took Spanish, dance, writing, wood shop, and so many different other classes. I can see the challenge of using the imagination that these kids will have as they get older since they won’t be able to express themselves in a variety of ways.
The parents of these children seem to only want one thing from their kids-to be smart. So if you want a kid that will be able to use logic to come to genius conclusions, then private school is for your kids. If you want your kid to have an opportunity to grow up with some social skills, and to be able to pick their classes based on their interests, then stick with public school where they may or may not fall through the cracks.
I value my social skill above anything, which is why I picked Communications for my major. I don’t think I would want my kids to miss out of the opportunities that I had in public school, even if being in a private school makes them in the top ten percent.