Follow along as we look at the education of one girl named Amanda:
Amanda was the youngest in her family, and her parents, though not wealthy, chose to send all five of their children to a small, private school. By the time Amanda reached the classrooms of her school, her siblings had already won a family reputation of being involved in extracurricular events and getting excellent grades. The teachers expected much of the same from Amanda, and they challenged her and appreciated her achievements. Amanda rose to the challenges, and she too lived up to the family reputation.
However, Amanda struggled with shyness. She had difficulties making friends, and she often found herself alone during the students’ free times. To the teachers, Amanda’s quiet demeanor was just part of her charm. To her classmates, her quietness seemed either boring or snobby. How did Amanda deal with the pain of being excluded? She developed a passion for art. Drawing pictures gave Amanda an outlet to express her many thoughts (because quiet people are usually only quiet on the outside), and it kept her busy when she could have been sitting alone in the hallway. The art teacher respected Amanda’s dedication to her art and kept a small corner of the room reserved just for her.
As she grew in her skill, Amanda entered art contests and won them. She studied all the art books her teacher lent her, and she developed a side interest in the Renaissance. Her history essay about Renaissance art received the highest grade. Amanda realized she enjoyed writing nearly as well as she enjoyed drawing. Because her teachers were dedicated to Amanda’s success, they developed a new program just for her: an independent study in which she could combine her skills in art and writing. In this self-designed class, she wrote and illustrated a children’s book, a funny little book about a penguin who mistakenly ended up at a farm instead of a zoo.
Amanda loved her independent study, and she also loved the way her teachers helped and encouraged her just enough to keep her striving for new goals. When she was an adult, Amanda realized that being in a small school gave her opportunities to grow and self-direct her studies in ways that would have been impossible in a large school. Her teachers genuinely cared for her, and they wanted to give her a meaningful education, not just an average education.
Although Amanda’s funny little picture book never was accepted by a publisher (her teacher did help her submit), the experience of writing and drawing for publication left a lasting mark on her life. She was accepted at a good college, graduated with honors, and went on to earn an MFA in Creative Writing. Now Amanda is married, has three children, is the published author of a book of short stories centered around the life of an artist, and she continues to write. People ask her why she writes, and Amanda tells them, “I have to write. It’s what I love to do.” She is still a very quiet individual, and she still finds it hard to make friends, but her shyness has no bearing on her stories and poetry. Her words are full of imagination, beauty, and the love of truth. She has no problems incorporating history, science, or art into her writing because life is about learning, and all the subjects are intrinsically connected into life.
Even though Amanda is not wealthy, a CEO of a booming business, or fabulously famous, her quiet life of learning is a triumph. Her small school accepted her as an intelligent individual, and it recognized her talents and encouraged her along the path she was already heading. We at Tenney School believe in this kind of education. We value each of our students, and we want to develop a love of learning in each mind here. We recognize that learning is only beginning at this age. With the right cultivation and environment, it will grow for an entire lifetime and bear beautiful fruit.
Please contact us to learn more about the Tenney School education.