This morning, I was searching for some education topics to write about and I came across a news story titled Some Inconvenient Truths About Public Education, which was about Davis Guggenheim’s latest documentary, Waiting for Superman. (Guggenheim was director of An Inconvenient Truth as well as a ton of TV show episodes). After reading the short review of the film, I began thinking about some “inconvenient truths” about me as an educator.
Guggenheim is a strong believer of public education, but his kids attend private school. Not that I blame him, we want to give the best we can to our children. My “inconvenient truth” is that I am working in a private school system. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and have an amazing boss, but like Guggenheim, I am an advocate for public education.
I should be in the public schools, teaching students who truly need a strong and dedicated teacher. In my state, only 60% of students graduate from high school. The achievement gap is alive and kicking here. Why am I working in the private schools system? (Well, when I applied for jobs, the public school system was on a hiring freeze and I wanted to ensure I was employed before moving across the country).
My experience in the private school system will definitely make me a better public school teacher. Before teaching in the private schools, my toolkit included differentiation–but never was much attention placed on the advanced or gifted students. This year, I have worked with so many students that are testing in the 75th percentiles–forcing me to learn how to work with gifted students. That coupled with my experience with struggling students and average students better prepares me to give all public students a high quality education.