Jun 13, 2010

From Private School to Public School and Back

It seems eons since I last posted something on this blog. Been very busy with new work, with my online job, and with keeping everything together at home. Sorry to those who visited and found the same post again and again. Well, let me break my silence now. Let me start by changing our theme. The blue gets to me sometimes. For a change, I'd like to see green all around me. Vibrant, bright, lively green. 

I'm training for a new job, so everything has been hectic for me the past month. New job, new location, new co-workers, new work schedule. Thankfully, I had not been as stressed as I thought I would be. My co-workers are a young, nice, and happy bunch. Work location is a just 20 minutes ride away from home, and day shift is working better for me than night shift. 

I'm not the only one in the family who'll be experiencing change this year. Basti is going back to his old private school. Last year, we had to put him to a public school nearby when his father lost his job due to the recession (the company had to let them go but got them back again when the economy improved at the latter part of 2009). Last year was a challenging year for us, not only financially but also emotionally. 

Basti is excited to go back to school and meet with old friends. Looking back, I can see how resilient my child is. He went to public school knowing he had no friends there, because I think he knew he had no choice. I was a nervous wreck the first day of school last year. It rained heavily the first day, and the teachers sent the kids out earlier than normal. In public school, kids are on their own. They don't keep the kids inside until someone picks them up. I was worried and we decided to go to the school to check if the kids were sent home earlier than usual. My husband was halfway out the door when we saw Basti by the gate, hollering "I'm home!" He went home on his own for the first time in his life. At that moment, I was proud of my little boy but kind of worried as well. He was alone at the school waiting for us, and there was no assurance we would come pick him up, when a Pedi cab driver offered to give him a ride home. He's familiar with the driver so he took the offer and just told him that Mama and Papa will be the one to pay when he gets home. He had no pocket money since we're not counting on him being sent out early. That day, I realized that by sending my child to public school, I deprived myself and him the sense of security that we were enjoying at his private school. I felt like I let him loose out there, in the jungle. 

But that was last year; my perspective of public school has changed over the months Basti spent in the nearby public school. While my sense of security was shattered, Basti sense of independence grew. He now has pocket money for "emergencies". He made friends quite easily. He learned to be a "cleaner", which gave him quite a sense of responsibility. He's the 6th top student in a class of 50. He learned that although we are not rich, not even middle-class, we are luckier than most people. He learned to share things and space with other kids. There are so many things he learned that cannot be taught in the sheltered walls of a private school, and this one year at public school has changed him in so many ways.

Basti is happy that he’ll be studying again at his old school this year. He misses his friends that he’s been with since Kindergarten days. It would have been okay to let him stay in his public school, but then every time I remember going to his class and unable to find him easily among almost 50 beaming faces, because he’s big and usually at the back row, I have a nagging feeling that I’m not giving him the best that I can give, as a parent. So for now, since God has blessed us with many good things this year, Basti will be going back to his old school. 

I have nothing about public education. I spent my elementary days in public school, and my college days in a government university. It's just that when you're so use to the convenience of private school, and you put your child in a public school, you're in for a mild culture shock. Mostly for me, it's my peace of mind that was affected.  If you're considering enrolling your child in a public school this year or had already than that, don't worry, public schooling in the Philippines is not that bad, and not all public schools are all the same. Some are better than others. And besides, after the initial shock, and after the initial worrying stage, you'll get used to it, and will realize it's not that bad at all. It might even be good to your child too as it was for Basti.  

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