Attending a small high school comes with many pros and cons. The biggest problem that comes with attending a small school is building a reputation. In small towns students typically spend their entire childhoods with the same class and because of this students gain reputations that are hard or impossible to shake. Small schools in nearly every situation force students to deal with social consequences for their mistakes. A small community atmosphere however, can give students the individual attention they need to excel in the classroom and the community.
If a student is saddled with the reputation of being lazy he/she has to work twice as hard in order to lose that title. Often these reputations are formed in elementary or middle school and cause problems for students all the way through high school. Students typically respond to their reputation in one of two ways. Some will ignore their reputation and carry on as normal until it’s replaced. Other students have trouble defining themselves outside of what peers or teachers say and become trapped in negative behavior patterns.
Another con of a small school is that when a student makes a mistake the entire school or community knows about it. Whether an embarrassing situation occurs in class, at a dance or just around town, students know that there will always be social consequences. However, learning to deal with uncomfortable situations and not being able to just hide in the crowd is also a valuable advantage of the small school system.
These situations can be considered a positive chance for students to develop socially. Although the student might be embarrassed, he/she will also be able to receive help and counseling from their teachers and friends. Small town gossip also forces students to take responsibility for their actions. When something happens a student is held accountable because everyone knows about it. If they were at a bigger school the student could just pretend nothing happened and never change their habits.
Small class sizes also give students a better chance to succeed. Teachers are able to give students individual attention and identify problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. If students are missing class, having problems at home or with school work it is much easier for a teacher of a 15 to 20 person class to recognize students’ problems than in a class of 40 or 50. Small high schools are small communities, even though there are problems like every other type of school, small schools create a caring atmosphere where students can receive the individual attention they need to succeed.