I’ve taught at 3 independent / private schools in my career. (Is there a difference between ‘private’ and ‘independent’?) I think it’s also important to say that, upon facing one of the required desegregation order that I’ve since studied, my parents pulled me and my siblings from our local public school and moved us to private schools. It is also important to say that the gravestones of my maternal grandparents are in the shape of open books. They believed in education. They had no way to anticipate the costs, though they tried.
I loved my own private school. It was a good match for me. Georgetown Day School. 2nd – 12th grade. It was small enough that I was known. I had good connections with my teachers, some of whom I still talk to. The school, once in a converted office building, has since moved, and I still go back to visit. I recently took our son to show him around.
I remember some less than wonderful years (5th grade, Amy, if you are a GDS person reading this) and some less than wonderful teachers (Jerry, Chemistry). And yes, we called our teachers by their first names. But most of the teachers, especially my English teachers, were wonderful, game-changing people. And they put up with me. I was, to put it mildly, a temperamental child. I came out of the experience better prepared in some subjects (English, history, even math) than others (science, languages), but I was ready for college. I had the work ethic.
The place was small enough that I could be involved in lots of extra-curricular activities. At 6′ 1″ (6’3″ in the program!), I was the center on the basketball team for my last two years. I worked backstage on the plays and musicals. I was part of the Model UN program. I even went on a school trip to Russia. (No, I didn’t meet with anyone about the 2016 election.)
I was infused with a strong sense of social justice, even as my school began, with the shift to its new building, to betray its own principles. So much so, I was determined to teach in public schools. So it was odd that I would start my teaching career at a private school. But that’s for Part II.