09 Nov Why I chose a private school for my children
I recently got to see my middle school form tutor and, the first thing he said after we said hello was “Oh, you and Daniela O. were in a continuous, fierce competition for first place!” I couldn’t believe he remembered that, it was more than 20 years ago! The point is that that’s all I remember from my school years, a constant pressure to be the best in class; the high expectations of my parents and especially my father’s, and the disappointment in his eyes and his voice when I “only” got the second prize. I don’t want this for my children. It didn’t do me any good and it had nothing to do with my future studies which took me to one of the best universities in the United States, Northwestern.
I am not ungrateful, don’t get me wrong. I had some wonderful teachers during my childhood in Romania and they inspired me, especially with their authenticity and their passion for their subjects. However, while in the States, I realized that the way I learned in school, didn’t prepare me for what I was experiencing there. I didn’t learn basic things, like using primary and secondary sources for my papers, creating a bibliography, making an outline. To all my American colleagues all those terms were as easy as ABC. They’ve heard it all before, they knew what was required of them. They knew how to structure a paper, how to argue a point, they were not afraid to ask questions in class. What did I learn in school? To cover massive amounts of information from lesson to lesson, memorize everything from week to week and recite it all when prompted. All that stored information was gone within a month.
I wasn’t smarter and I didn’t have a broader knowledge than my American peers, even though I graduated top of my class in high school (yes, I finally got Daniela O.!). What I had was just a strong motivation to learn more, to better myself, which led to my graduating with honours. It’s been 6 years since my family and I have returned from the States. Our two boys have been attending Transylvania College since 2010 and we couldn’t have found a better school for them. I am not just saying that because I also work for the school; I actually heard about the position while searching for a good school for them. I love everything about this school, its founders and the management team, my colleagues and the children and the parents in our beautiful community. It sounds corny, community, but it truly feels like a big family to me. I love greeting the children every day, I know all 600 or so of them by name. My boys are happy here and I am in awe at how much they’re learning and how the teachers and everything they’re exposed to develop their critical and logical thinking. My husband and I are often taken by surprise by their smart questions and many times we’re put in the position to do some research in order to answer them. Yes, it’s a private school and many argue that it all comes down to better resources, which allow for better teaching and learning. I think that the benefit is actually provided by each member of the staff, whose efforts never cease in making sure that they do their best for each child, for helping each one achieve more, while staying balanced and while developing a healthy self-esteem. It sounds simple and yet it’s a courageous endeavor, which requires mountains of patience and perseverance, a passion for teaching, a love for children and an invested desire to see each student succeed on his own, not as a race to beat his classmates to first place on the podium.
My boys are still young, the older one has just started middle school and they already talk about what skills they have and how those might help them in various professions they feel they would like to pursue. We’re having quite elaborate conversations on the subject and I cannot believe how well researched and thought-out their points are! This school is opening a world of opportunities for each student here and I cannot wait for my boys to make the most what’s ahead! I am sure they will have no trouble preparing their papers, finding sources, correctly using citations or fulfilling any other requirement they encounter in their future studies, at any university they choose to attend in the world. Even the fact that they can aspire to study at any one of the best universities in the world, is a beautiful thing in itself. Thank you, Transylvania College!