Capital Research Center’s Phil Brand has an interesting look at educationinamerica.org about what it was like to go back to the small town school he left as a young lad when his family left for greener pastures. Reading it gave me pause and made me ponder the unusual way that having “small town” in your personal history has a strange way of sticking with you in your psyche. He also raises the questions most people reflect on after they have left: What is it like to return, and what would my future have been like (for better or worse) had I stayed there? He also does a great job of raising the concepts of positive peering, and the manner in which it has a role in shaping educational outcomes and performance. Read an excerpt below:
I attended RCS in seventh and eighth grade before my family moved to New Hampshire.
I hadn’t been back to the school since, but as soon as I walked through the door my old science teacher, Fred Zimmerman, greeted me. When I was a student I thought he was an older teacher, but today he seemed younger than when I had last seen him a dozen years ago! We talked about the rockets and cars I had built in his class. On the wall he had a chart of all the members of the school science team going back twenty years. Sure enough, there was my name: bronze medal, regional egg-drop competition. It’s cliché to say, but in a small school everyone really does know your name.
And they remember you after you’ve left. When I walked passed the guidance office, the counselor beckoned me in. “I know you,” she said. “I was sad to see you leave. Yours was a rough class, and you could have been a good influence.” The smaller the school, the larger the influence a couple of people can have in it. When calculating test percentages, a few students can really swing the average.