Let me just say it – I love teaching at Harrisburg Academy. Despite accepting a lower salary, I have not regretted my decision to leave public education. In fact, two years after joining the Academy community, I can say with certainty that this is one of the best choices I have ever made. Teaching at a private school might not be for everybody, but when I consider the reasons that motivated me to be a teacher in the first place, I realize that I can strive for those ideals largely because I am teaching at the Academy.

First, I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of my students. When teachers see more than 120 students in a day, the degree of influence is limited and the impact is spread quite thin. With less than half that number, I can devote twice the time to each student’s individual needs. That means if a student has a deficiency in or excels with writing, I can devote my attention to fine-tuning his or her skill set. It also makes class discussions exponentially more productive. In a classroom of 28 or 32 students, not everyone can be heard, but in our setting with 10 to 15 students in my English classes, everyone can be encouraged to share ideas. At the beginning of my third year here at the Academy, I can already look back at a dozen or more class discussions that ranged far beyond my expectations. In short, I no longer wonder if I’m being effective in the classroom because I can directly experience the impact my teaching is making.

Professionally, this is the best a teacher can hope for.

Secondly, I love the students. Harrisburg Academy students are hilarious, intelligent, and thoughtful. Not always, of course — we are human, after all, and they are teenagers — but by and large, I could not ask for better kids to fill my class with smiles, laughter, discussion, and ideas. Parents, this might come as a surprise to you, but here in school, they really are pretty wonderful!

I want to thank the Harrisburg Academy community for the chance to teach here. I hope to devote many years to making this the best school in Southcentral Pennsylvania.