My experience in school as a student was much different than most because I went to a private school for elementary school. After elementary school I went to a public high school, and I wasn’t okay with how the kids there acted. I wish I would have stayed in private school all of my years growing up because the children were respectful. Private school taught me values that I have held onto throughout my entire life. Those values were tested when I went to public school, so perhaps it was necessary for me to experience what life was like for people who didn’t attend private school.
When I first looked into where to teach, I had some issues picking a school that aligned with my values and sense of self. I would have never imagined it to be so freeing working at an all girls catholic school washington dc. I never went to Catholic school growing up, but I did wear a uniform, and I suppose it was a positive experience being in an environment where everyone dressed the same. It didn’t matter what you wore to school because everyone was basically wearing the same thing. School and education should be more about the individual, and I think that shows at these types of institutions.
When I made friends in private school it was because we had similar interests. My friends were interested in basketball, so we would talk about games, players, and trivia. Our lunch tables were easy to identify based upon our interests. We were the kids who were more interested in sports, and the other tables had their own themes as well. There was a table of children who liked math and science. And there was even a table of children who liked medicine, and they wanted to be doctors when they grew up. These groups of kids got along because of their interests, and it helped bring a sense of understanding into the K-12 classrooms as well.
Attending the public school wasn’t challenging as far as the educational curriculum was concerned, but it did challenge my sense of social skills. Children sat together based upon material appearances. There were children who looked cleaner and dressed nicer who sat together. There were children who liked to wear shirts with the names of bands on them who sat together. Some children sat together based on interests, but my impression was that children at public schools were more superficial.
Now I teach at a private school where religion is a primary focus. Children are taught a certain set of ideals and values. Even if one of the children doesn’t believe in the value or ideal being taught, they respect that other children and adults might hold those beliefs. The respect is there in our classrooms, but it is something missing in most public school settings. Many afternoons in my school I have the opportunity to talk to children about how they feel about important issues, and I cherish that.