So What’s Your Story?

Learning to be the Best Teacher

I was nervous as I went up the stairs to my job interview at Synergy School on Grove Street in June 1983. Here I was, a product of SF public schools, the parent of two public school students and a teacher fully committed to public education, applying to teach in a private school. If I get the job, I’ll just stay a few years and hopefully the public schools will begin hiring again, I reasoned.

I did get the job teaching kindergarten, and in August I attended my first Synergy event—a picnic celebrating Synergy’s tenth anniversary. People came from all over, thrilled to see each other, full of stories of their Synergy experiences. I was flabbergasted that people came together to joyfully celebrate their elementary school (!!). It was beginning to occur to me that this was no ordinary school.

Teaching at Synergy is not for the faint at heart. From the first hour of my first day at Synergy, we were off and running, creating curriculum, debating ways to help students assume responsibility, getting to know each other as teammates, and moving furniture into classrooms.  It never stopped. I was constantly challenged to be the best teacher I could be, to constantly revisit my assumptions, and to make myself a better teacher and the school the best possible environment for learning. It was intellectually and emotionally challenging and infinitely rewarding.

Now that I’ve been retired for 5 years, after 30 years at Synergy, I still miss the creativity of curriculum development and the close community of students, families, and teachers. In a few short years, Synergy will celebrate fifty years and I imagine new teachers discovering the uniqueness of Synergy at what will undoubtedly be a grand celebration.

Elena Dillon, Synergy Trustee, former Director of Admission and Synergy Teacher

My daughter, Jennifer Dillon, graduated from Synergy in ‘89 and my grandson, Jeffrey Jamil Dillon, graduated in ‘06.

Help us raise $300,000 

Your contribution helps us cover the cost of a Synergy education. The annual-per-child gap between tuition and the true cost of a Synergy education is $2,500 this year. Your tax-deductible gift to the Annual Fund helps to make up the difference and strengthens our collaborative and hands-on program and supports our outstanding teachers. Donate now

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