Have no fear

The transition from private to public shouldn’t be scary


Caleb Webb, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that the transition from private school to public school is a prevalent fear for most who attend a private school during their elementary years. This was especially a fear for me.

Even as a social and courteous person (or at least the thought that I am), I still did not feel as though I had the upper hand when I stepped through the doors of Elkhart Memorial.

To my relief, my fears were eased once I found myself being socially accepted. After one year in the halls of Elkhart Memorial, I felt like I fit in well, and I quickly realized one important thing: it is much easier to be myself in a public school setting.

I learned that I do not have to be afraid to be myself. In the private school environment, there was always the fear of not sticking to the strict standards.

In the public school environment, there is a greater amount of freedom that is allowed. For example, the ability to actually choose one’s own path when it comes to different classes.

Being given the opportunity to make choices about which classes to take is another benefit of attending a public school. In private schools, students are often forced to take classes despite their personal opinions.

Why would we force students to take specific classes with no certain interests towards them? Instead, public school students have counselors who are there to lead students on the path to get the required credits, but at the same time, provide them with the ability to make decisions about their own schedule. Typically, this makes the educational experience more satisfying and tolerable for both students and teaching staff and because of this, I have learned more about myself.

Additionally, enrolling in a public school has given me the opportunity to build more powerful bonds and relationships with people from all different backgrounds—not only my fellow peers but also my teachers.

With such a wide variety of different types of teachers and teaching styles, they not only give students a new and more interesting way to learn and stay intrigued, but there is the greater likelihood that every student will have at least one adult they can go to for help with anything.

Another much welcomed difference that I have noticed during my transition, is the amount of things that I have learned about society and people during my time at Memorial.

In the private school environment, I was protected from certain aspects of life, and sheltered from anything that my school considered “bad.” While this may seem favorable, it is not realistic. As a result, looking back on it, now that I have been given access to multiple perspectives, I can make my own decisions about what is “good” and what is “bad.”

Having the ability to do this is preparing me for the real world in a more authentic way than my private school education ever did.

However, some benefits of a private school environment consist of smaller class sizes which expands on the more one-on-one student and teacher interaction which can be beneficial for some students. But to counter this, at public schools when students have significantly more opportunities to meet adults who they can relate to and trust, thus forming closer relationships, educational outcomes are not diminished.

So I would like to influence students who have fears about making the big transition to go for it. It may be a nerve- racking decision, but it is one that I have no regrets about.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Reach Caleb Webb at [email protected]