Private schools vs Public schools

Avatar for marsgen
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Private schools vs Public schools
3
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 10:01am
Hi Everyone,

I have been here a couple of times before and I have really appreciated your advice, so I am back again with a question about the best place to teach.

Here is the thing, yesterday I was interviewd by a private school for a teaching position. This was my first interview for a private school so I did not know what to expect. The interview went okay alttnough I thought it was more formal than what I am used to. The Head Master was pretty direct and he started throwing questions at me as soon as I entered the door. I did not even have a chance to show my teaching portfolio to them so I feel badly about that.

Anyway, I am wondering if any of you teach in a private school or if any of you have opinions on the differences between private school and public schools when it comes to teaching at those schools?

I have mentioned this here before, but I am Canadian and finding a public school that is willing to sponsor me on a work visa has been extremely hard. So now I am turning to private schools. My greatest fear about a private school is the fact that the parents must be ten times more demanding since they are paying a whole lot of money to have their child in a private school. Also, I fear I may not be making the difference in these children's lives as much as I would want to since they already have a great life traced out in front of them.

Thanks for listening.

Ginny

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 8:07pm
I think you've hit on a couple of truths. I've never worked in a private school, but my daughter has some experience with private school parents and I went through a round of interviews with our high-standards, high tuition, high pressure private school locally.

My daughter was coaching tennis for the school. The parents of her two top athletes were a pain. They complained because she made them do conditioning expercises, because she wouldn't excuse them from practice for their private lessons, because she made them compete and win their positions, because she required them to attend school the day of the match or they couldn't play. The top player wanted her coach from her private club to have the job, so her parents went and complained that my daughter was too rough on the girls and they were becoming discouraged. They were winning, but that didn't matter. My daughter was fired in mid-season and the private coach took over. They went down hill and several girls quit in protest.

When I interviewed, I felt that they expected perfection. If I hadn't taught their specfic materials, I was told that would be a real problem. Keep in mind I was an award-winning experienced teacher who had taught in all kinds of schools with all kinds of materials. I was asked my opinion about parental involvement in discipline issues and was told that "We try to give the parents as much of a voice as possible." Needless to say I didn't get the job. I heard they hired a beginner who's mother taught there.

Anyway...things might be different in other places. These are just two events. I have heard teachers say that sometimes discipline and performance are better because the parents expect their kids to perform if they are spending the money and have picked the school for specific reasons. I think some church-affiliated schools are better, but my daughter's experience was with a Catholic HS. Our community has two parochial HSs. One is considered the working class school and the other is the rich kids school. Guess which one she was at.

I'd say to do some research. Ask questions in the community and from the teachers in and out of the school. See what they think and see what the parents think. That might give you a clue as to what really goes on there. Also..look at their turn-over rate. Who stays and who goes?

Good luck. I hope you find something soon. You can't teach French and German can you? There's an opening in a school near here and they think it will be tough to fill.

Sherry

Sherry

 

Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 9:24pm
Having taught in, and attended, both public and private schools, I can say that the differences are night and day.

I taught in an upper-class parochial (Catholic) school (in the 7th largest, by student population, diocese in the country), similar to the one I attended as a child. The parents were expected to put in 10 hours of volunteer time each year, or tuition was increased quite dramatically. This really made a big difference in behavior, as the kids knew their parents would be in -- often! Our biggest discipline issues were chewing gum in class, girls rolling their skirts up to make them shorter, name-calling, mild bullying -- compared to public schools -- etc. (and this was at the 6-8th grade levels).

The downfalls were, as you said, much more structured -- I remember being the 'odd man out' because I didn't like having my students' desks in neat rows. I also didn't believe in removing kids from school permanently over issues that could be solved in better ways. I had a difficult time living on the very minimal salary, as well, especially if you need any supplies. Being not the least bit artisticly inclined, art was always interesting (to put it mildly), as we had no art teacher -- other than ourselves. The principal expected us to work through the textbooks, in order, no manipulatives or hands-on. Lots of punishment through writing (which makes me cringe).

Basically, there are pros and cons to each situation (public and private), and if I could afford to, I'd honestly still be in a private, Catholic school -- mainly because there is less politics and headache, no first-graders threatening each other with a knife over tic tacs, no 6th graders getting ready to sue because a teacher put their hand on the child's shoulder as the child was cursing/threatning another student, etc. It just didn't happen there, or the kids were sent out of the school permanently. Those are just 2 incidents from this school year in public education.... in a fairly small, middle class community.

So, weigh your options, and the salary -- see if you can afford to live on theirs, and if so, it may be something you'd enjoy. If not, you might be able to stick it out for a year, and then bail. Oh, one more thing to consider, retirement would most likely be social security from a private school.

Katie


Avatar for marsgen
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-08-2003 - 10:29pm
Hi everyone,

Well unfortunately I did not get the job at the private school I interviewed at. At least the principal called me back to give me the news. She said that it was between me and this other teacher, but they chose the teacher who had years of middle school experience. I am a new teacher by the way so that basically ruled me out if they were looking for experience.

So since there are not too many private schools in my area I do not think I will be working at a private school after all. To tell you the truth I prefer the public school system because I feel I can make more of a difference with those students who may not have as many chances as those private school students.

Take care,

Ginny