One of the things that surprised me when I first started teaching in a private school was how often people would ask me whether private school is worth it… worth the effort and worth the expense. It’s not an easy question to answer since every child’s situation is unique both in terms of what they might gain from a private school education and in terms of what their family will sacrifice to make it possible. However, in own experience – both as a private school student and eventually a private school teacher – I see a number of benefits.
The value of a community is the first benefit that comes to my mind. I am grateful to have attended a school with other students whose families valued education as much as mine did. I didn’t fully appreciate the sacrifice that my family made until I was an adult, but looking back I can see how my parents’ investment in my education changed the course of my life.
Another feature of the community that was important to me was that it was small enough that I felt known and supported. As a teacher, this is one of my favourite features of a private school. I love getting to know my students each year and keeping in touch with them as they progress through the school. I enjoy getting to know their families and teaching their younger siblings. It is so rewarding to be a part of the network of support surrounding each child.
That support network is especially strong in private school communities because everyone is united by the mission and vision of the school. With teachers, families and students working towards the same goal together, we can create the conditions in which each child can flourish.