Every day we see more parents pull their children from public schools, looking to enroll them in small private schools instead. Many parents make sacrifices in order to pay tuition, and others set aside their pride and seek out scholarships. Schedules are rearranged, bus rides given up, and old friends are made to say their goodbyes.
Why are these parents doing this? Do class sizes really affect a child’s education that much? The answer for many children is a resounding “Yes!”, and as public schools become more and more crowded and the teachers become more and more overworked, this becomes true for more and more children.
So how do you know if your child would be better off in a small school? There are many signs that those large class sizes might be taking a toll on your young student. Here are a few things (in no particular order) that you will definitely want to watch out for.
Large class sizes mean less one-on-one attention, and often this means children seek new ways of getting attention. Unfortunately, these attention-seeking methods are usually distracting, rude, and unruly, ultimately giving the child the label “naughty”.
This is not a fair arrangement for the child who only wants to be noticed, understood, appreciated, and taught, nor is it fair for the classroom full of children who are trying to receive an education. If you learn that your child is having problems staying focused in class and is calling negative attention to themselves, it might be time to consider a school that can give them the one-on-one attention they crave.
Desire to Dig Deeper
Because public school teachers must focus on keeping so many children at the correct level, they are not usually able to dig deep into any one subject. This is unfortunate for those children who become fascinated with a particular topic and wish to dig deeper.
While the child could very well continue to learn about that topic at home, how nice would it be to have them in a smaller class where a teacher can take the time to offer more resources to those interested in learning more about a subject?
If your child is eager to learn and is feeling unsatisfied with what their current teacher can offer due to their workload, it is probably time to look into options for a smaller, more intimate learning environment for your curious scholar.
Trouble Grasping Concepts
All teachers want their students to succeed. Unfortunately, with class sizes of 30 or more children, it can be very difficult to make sure everyone understands a concept before moving on, and often classes are taught to the mid-level students, which mean the lower-level students can easily fall through the cracks. Without much extra class time to explain an idea further, an overworked teacher is forced to leave these students behind and move on with the rest of the class.
If your child has consistent issues grasping new concepts and putting them into action, it could be a good idea to look into options for smaller classes or one-on-one educating settings, so a teacher can focus solely on your child.
Large schools with big classes can leave some children feeling pushed aside, ignored, or forgotten. Large schools are also more likely to have very defined cliques and definitions of what is “cool”. This often leads to bullying, which can easily go unnoticed in a bigger school. Clearly, these things can cause some serious social anxiety in children, and they certainly take focus away from their schooling.
If you find that your child is anxious about attending school due to bullying or other social issues, it is definitely time to look into other options in your area.
Lack of True Connections
The very best learning happens when a teacher and a pupil connect. During that moment, it’s as if sparks fly, and the teacher and student are able to truly communicate. Unfortunately, for various reasons—including large class sizes—true connections between students and teachers rarely happen in mainstream school settings. That isn’t to say that they don’t or can’t happen, so if your child has found a teacher he or she connects with, then by all means, encourage that relationship.
However, if your student doesn’t seem to connect with any of their teachers, seems uninterested in learning in general, or never seems to understand his or her teacher’s methods of communication, a small school can help your scholar find the connection they need to succeed.
Would you like to learn more about what a small school can do for your child? Please contact us today at Tenney School.