Today someone told me something downright shocking.
The kids here are much more needy.
This was at a my current school, which is private, and very well-regarded in its community. Virtually all of the students who graduate from this school will go to college, and many will go to Ivy League schools.
I must have had a shocked or puzzled look on my face because the person then clarified by saying,
They need a lot more hand-holding.
This simply hasn’t been my experience at all. I don’t feel like I’ve had to do much hand-holding at this school, minus teaching them how to use the microscope which is simply a tedious task no matter what. The students are happy, have great personalities and good senses of humor. Over 95% of them do their homework on a regular basis. The majority of them are eager to participate in class. They ask questions. They want to do well. They want to please their teachers.
I’ve heard other teachers at this school talk about the students as if they are spoiled brats, and I just don’t understand. I’m sure the longer I am there, the more complaints I will have, but so far, the kids are amazingly well-behaved. I used to work at a school where teachers were occasionally assaulted by students, (this wasn’t an every day or every week thing, but I can still remember at least 4 instances during the several years I was there), there were student fights every week, and once there was even a riot. It sounds like a horrible place when you describe it that way, but I did really love the students. (Regardless, I am still much happier with my current bunch of students.)
My current school has study hall periods set up for the students in which they are supposed to study, work on homework, and visit other teachers (if they are free) to get help. The students use these opportunities. There are many days where I feel like I literally teach all day because I have students coming to see me for help even on my “off” periods. I don’t see this as “hand-holding”, either, though. I see it as a great system to effectively help students learn.
So there are no fights, no drug problems (at least not on campus), no standardized tests hanging over your head…what’s the deal?
I guess I just don’t get it. What am I missing here? Has anyone else had a similar experience in comparing public schools to private schools?