Monday, June 3, 2013

How I became a private school parent

I went to public school my entire life; chose a public college; became a public school teacher; still work for a public school system, just not in the traditional sense of a teacher.  Jefferson teaches public school.  Because of this I have had many people ask me why we chose private school for Dori (with our other children to follow).

There are many answers to that question and I always worry that I'm going to sound stuck up or make people think I believe I am better than they are.  By no means is that my intention.  The education she is getting is of the highest quality which by far is the main reason I am happy we chose St. Catherine's.

There were many roads that helped lead us to attend St. Catherine's and I cannot be happier after the first year.  When Dori was born, my mother-in-law was hell bent she was going to St. Catherine's and I dug my heels in.  I'm not sending my child to a school that you have to get on a waiting list five years in advance!  I went to public school, public school is fine for her!  Wow, did I ever eat my words.  I did go to public school, but not here.  I grew up in a small town and went to the best schools in the county.  Our children would not be going to the best schools in the county.  We don't live in those areas and can't move to those areas.  Don't get me wrong, from what I have been told the elementary school we are zoned for is a good school.  There are better, there are worse.  When it came time to start looking we decided to try and see what came of it.  After all of the testing, meetings, and other various activities, we decided to apply to St. Catherine's.  And to correct an earlier statement, we didn't go on a waiting list 5 years beforehand.  We did the normal application route beginning September-ish of the year before she was to start.

The education she is receiving is phenomenal.  I cannot say enough about her teachers and the school in general.  I really feel as though every teacher and staff member at the school has the students' best interests in mind and puts in the work they need to in order to help them achieve the best they can.  That's not to say teachers in the public schools don't, but there are some that don't.  After seeing everything teachers go through (and its worse now than it was when I was teaching) who can blame them?  They're beat down and not appreciated.  The way they have to teach, in preparation for the tests is ridiculous.  I could go on and on.  Until a bunch of people that make the laws but aren't teachers wake up, it won't change.  It's holding students back and I don't want my children held back because of a test.  I really didn't want to rely on chance at her getting a good teacher; better yet I didn't want to take the chance she didn't get a good teacher.  Not only that, with all that teachers put up with now, it makes me not want to even think about going back into the classroom in a few years when I go back to work.  I only ever wanted to be a teacher.  Where do I go from here now?  That is a totally different post however!

Most of the things that happen in her school could be implemented in a public school but probably won't be because of testing and a lack of funding, or rather it not being seen as important.

Her school year ended Friday.  She was sent home with four packs of work.  One pack for each of the three months with a schedule attached and one pack of handwriting practice.  A total of about 75 sheets of paper.  Jefferson could send home copies with 6 of his students with his paper allotment for the month.  

She has recess daily and two specials a day including PE, Spanish, dance, Chinese, music, art, library, and computer.  I know all of this can't be implemented in public schools, but some of it can, however its not seen as important in the development of children.  

Dori went into school not reading.  She knew her letters and her letter sounds, but wasn't reading.  I wasn't concerned either because I knew it would come and if I forced it she would hate it.  She is now reading at the end of 1st grade, beginning of 2nd grade level and loves it.

I could go on and on, but won't because I already feel as though this is choppy and all over the place.  Bottom line, public schools need to be revamped and teachers need to be allowed to teach.  You want to know why our students can't compete with students in other countries?  Because they don't know how to think, they know how to test and that wasn't good enough for our children if we could do anything else for them.

First Day of Kindergarten

Last Day of Kindergarten

Dori and Ms. Houston

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