Catholic School vs. Public School

Discussion in 'General Education' started by CDOR79, Apr 15, 2014.

  1. CDOR79

    CDOR79 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    17

    Apr 15, 2014

    For those of you that have had the chance to teach at both, I was wondering what your take is on what you like "better". I currently teach at a Catholic school and love it. There's some "stuff" going on but it's nothing that every job doesn't have. Of course, the biggest factor is salary. We get paid peanuts! I'm becoming very tempted to apply to a public school for that reason alone but have heard some horror stories and am afraid I'll hate it! I just hear there's a lot of politics involved, an enormous amount of paperwork, and a great deal of BS to deal with from the parents and administration.

    Could it depend that much on the district? Do/did you enjoy teaching in a public school?

    Thanks!
     
  2.  
  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    791

    Apr 15, 2014

    I have not taught in a private school, mostly because of the salary. From what I have heard though, work conditions, class size, parental involvement, etc., are without exception worse, you have to deal with behaviors that are nonexistent in private schools, more paperwork... pretty much the only perk for public school I've heard is salary and benefits.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,862
    Likes Received:
    734

    Apr 15, 2014

    I'd teach in a private school in a heartbeat if I could afford to live on the salary. My mom teaches at a religious school and it's amazing how nice her work environment is. All the things gr3teacher said are true for her, BUT as a 4th year teacher, I literally make about $10,000 more per year than she does with over 20 years of experience.
     
  5. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Messages:
    4,252
    Likes Received:
    791

    Apr 15, 2014

    For me, the biggest "wow factor" I have is that my fiancee's aunt retired from third grade in a private Catholic school. Her nightmare stories always start with "the terrible year that I had 15 kids in my class..." while I'm currently staring at 30 third graders for next year. That's only one story, and I'm sure there are private schools with worse class sizes (and definitely public schools with better class sizes), but it's what tends to stick in my mind.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,949
    Likes Received:
    2,101

    Apr 15, 2014

    I've taught at both...my Catholic school experiences (I taught at 2) were great...felt cozy and like a family. I left for money and for better professional development opportunities...yeah, people will talk about politics, but there's politics everywhere...don't let that influence you one way or the other. When I left my Catholic school, I more than doubled my income...after 14 years in my public school I'm closing in on the top of our salary scale...which is about 40 K more than top of the scale at my Catholic schools were (and still are). On top f that, my PD opportunities are amazing...I've worked with Lucy Calkins and other literacy gurus from Columbia, Math Solutions (Marilyn Burns), plus we have an amazing regional training center that offers great PD (I'm teaching one next year). Most importantly, my students are better serviced in public. Catholic schools generally have fewer resources ($) to meet the needs of struggling, special Ed, and special needs students. By no means am I knocking private schools....I loved my time there, but for me public has been so much more rewarding professionally on so many levels.
     
  7. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    16

    Apr 15, 2014

    I have never taught in a private school either; but around here, private schools just don't accept any-old-body (they screen/interview) or any-old behaviors.

    In the public schools in my district, we have to accept anyone that walks through the door and it is practically impossible to kick students out of a school (much less the district) unless they voluntarily transfer. Even things that should get students expelled, at the most will get a long-term suspension here so the student will come back. They always come back because its hard to get other schools in the district to take a student you're school is trying to get rid of.

    My co-worker used to teach at an all boys school in the area before he came to Baltimore City PS and he always says that his former school would not hesitate to put out students that displayed any of the behaviors our school puts up with on a daily basis. Furthermore, the boys at his old school never really behaved in the manner that our students do - they just didn't act like that. My co-worker says that his old students could be defiant in other ways but he never had to deal with the continuous disrespect and disruption we experience everyday.

    Since student behavior issues are the biggest problems I face as a teacher, I would love to teach in a place that didn't have to deal with behavior issues on a daily basis. But, I need my paycheck, benefits, pension and Union protection.
     
  8. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Apr 15, 2014

    I'm the oddball. I spent a year teaching at a Catholic school. I thought I'd love it because I loved attending one. It was AWFUL. There was no discipline. Kids were supposed to be suspended but then parents would threaten not to make their donation and all of the sudden kiddo was back in my class with zero punishment. All they learned was their parents could buy them out of trouble. The pay was also atrocious. My parents helped supplement me so I could do things like pay rent!

    I would consider teaching at a Catholic school again but I'd vet it better. I was fresh out of school and needed the experience. The admin was terrible. I know many private schools aren't like what I experienced though.

    I love, love, love my public school. I have almost no discipline issues. I have 100% freedom in my curriculum. Our admin is always looking out for us. He has our back. Parents are supportive. They discipline their children appropriately. I love my job now.
     
  9. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    16

    Apr 15, 2014

    What were the discipline issues you had to deal with at your Catholic school?

    I wonder, because often I hear people talk about how they have behavior problems but the issues they talk about (kids cutting class, talking while they teach, texting all class, sleeping/not doing work, bad attitudes, etc.) don't seem all that bad to me.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2011
    Messages:
    5,862
    Likes Received:
    734

    Apr 15, 2014

    I always think they can't be THAT bad because all of the other parents are paying tuition too, and if a kid is literally ruining the class the other parents will pull their kids out and the school loses all that tuition vs. just losing one tuition with kicking out the behavior problem student. Every class in my public inner city school last year had kids screaming at the top of their lungs for hours, throwing things, tipping over desks, cussing out/threatening the teacher in the middle of lessons on an hourly basis, literally destroying the room, and punching/hitting/kicking and even biting other kids. We were not allowed to send kids to the office for any reason. Any type of behavior, no matter how severe, was a "teacher problem" and was to be dealt with in the classroom. There is NO WAY that parents paying tuition would put up with that kind of behavior happening in their kid's class.
     
  11. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    16

    Apr 15, 2014

    Did you work at my school ... sounds JUST like it.:lol:

    Like you said, no way a parent paying tuition would put up with the behavior problems and teaching disruptions that occur at our schools daily. Thus, I'm sure the behavior problems at these private school can't be that bad. Often, the things some teachers complain about don't seem to be that big of a deal to me.
     
  12. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    981
    Likes Received:
    201

    Apr 15, 2014

    I taught in two different Catholic schools over seven years and have now been in public for many years. They both have their pros and cons. The Catholic school was a much smaller environment, but parents definitely had a lot of say in how things were done. Sometimes that level of involvement was great, but at other times, there was definitely the impression that money talked. Of course, there was also the salary differential. Public schools definitely do have their politics, student behaviors, curriculum swings, etc., so they aren't perfection either. However, given the choice, I would stay where I am now - in a public school.
     
  13. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    28

    Apr 15, 2014

    My first six years were spent teaching for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and they were six great years. As others before me have said, the salary is really, really tough get by on, but the kids and the staff were wonderful.

    My first foray into the public school arena was with "Teach For America" for two years. It was a rough introduction to the public schools because I was assigned to two different locations (one each year) and neither community was real receptive to the idea of "outsiders" coming in to teach in their schools. (I thought they would be more along the lines of grateful to learn we were all willing to leave our homes behind and travel so far to educate their kids.)

    You'll find some public schools that could almost make you think that you're in a private school atmosphere. You'll also find public school districts that are every bit the nightmare you'd suspect that they are.

    Do some research beforehand and if you get an offer from one of those lousy districts, you just have to consider how much you're willing to put up with.

    ;)
     
  14. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Apr 16, 2014

    I don't want to get into too many details, but they were nothing like what you described above. They were very serious issues. Honestly, some should have definitely involved the police. Some were issues that I've seen kids expelled for at public schools.

    ETA: what you wrote above is why I love my public school I'm at. No one cuts class, no one sleeps, 99.9% of my kids complete their work on time, and I only get attitude like 1-2 times a month. I don't know if it's because we're small and rural or what but it's a great school.
     
  15. Honest_Teacher

    Honest_Teacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2013
    Messages:
    437
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2014

    Don't worry about the pay; we're told over and over again that money doesn't motivate teachers or influence their decisions at all.
     
  16. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    2

    Apr 16, 2014

    I've taught in both. These are what stand out in my memory -

    shared issues:
    refusal to do work behaviors
    parents who are "tolerated"
    lack of up to date materials
    teach to standards
    standardized "state" testing
    no funding for materials
    clear signs of poverty and possible neglect
    need for translator to speak with parents (various languages)

    unique to Catholic:
    religious holidays are no school days
    types of punishments given by other teachers
    time allotted for religious functions - mass, prayers
    ability to celebrate and recognize holidays

    unique to public:
    up to date materials
    consistent system for discipline (can typically be school or district wide)
    teacher's union
    tenure
    variety of special education services available at the school
    do not have to recognize religious or cultural holidays
    can use Donor's Choose and other grant sources

    Other posters may disagree with some of these. Granted it's just what I remember.
     
  17. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2014

    There's a big difference between "barely making enough to get by," and getting further compensation on an already substantiative paycheck/benefits. Nobody wants to work as hard as a teacher does and then have to ask their parents for rent money.

    Also, you can have salary as part of the equation in accepting a job, but that doesn't automatically mean "merit pay" would improve teacher productivity.
     
  18. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2014

    FWIW, I strongly dislike the idea of working at a Catholic school.
    Parents have much more influence on what goes on in the school (like one poster said, parental money/status talks -- a disturbing realization), and the students may be more "disciplined," but they are typically repressed. While some public schools may have huge discipline issues, I'd say many private schools are on the opposite end of the spectrum -- far too controlling and demanding of the students. This kind of institution is not healthy and I don't believe in it.

    This is just a generalization, and I'm sure some Catholic/Parochial/Private schools are better than others. But in my experience it is an accurate generalization...
     
  19. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,841
    Likes Received:
    50

    Apr 16, 2014

    I haven't worked at a Catholic school, but I currently work at a private school and it infuriates me how much power the parents and students have. The administration is only concerned with how much money they make so they never side with the teacher so parents don't get upset and take out their kid.

    Last year various kids failed my class and administration gave out 5% points to let the students use in whichever class they pleased to their FINAL GRADE. When that didn't pass all the kids, administration called me in and asked me to pass the rest of the kids who were failing. I refused.

    I think most of the problems I have at my school are specific to my FUBAR school. But I also think a lot of the issues are found in all private schools. Parents having too much power, no support from administration, etc.
     
  20. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    572
    Likes Received:
    28

    Apr 16, 2014

    I liked both… i taught at a christian school but now teach at a public school. I liked being able to talk about faith more openly. Liked small classes. I had good administration there. The move was mainly due to the pay…. half as much as I get now at an urban public school.
     
  21. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2014
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 16, 2014

    I love teaching in public schools. I have a friend who teaches at a private school and hates it because she if way under funded both in salary and in terms of classroom supplies.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,949
    Likes Received:
    2,101

    Apr 16, 2014

    Attending...
     
  23. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,949
    Likes Received:
    16

    Apr 16, 2014

    I'll play.

    Of course, money influences decisions. This is not a hobby and I wouldn't do it for free. So money does influence where I take jobs and where I am willing to work.

    But, making more money would not motivate me to work harder once I have the job.
     
  24. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    910
    Likes Received:
    28

    Apr 16, 2014

    :thumb:
     
  25. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,014
    Likes Received:
    472

    Apr 16, 2014

    I highly disagree wth this. I know many Catholic school teachers, as I am Catholic myself. With public schools becoming more demanding with testing, many Catholic schools have used this opportunity to give students a more open and broad education. They are tending to be more relaxed on discipline than they use to be and more on developing character, religion, academics, life skills, and social skills. While 30 years ago a Catholic school was strict and maybe a bit boring, many teachers I know are saying students are enjoying the less pressure environment with more science, art, music, social studies, and less emphasis on test, test, test such as in many public schools. The teachers like having more freedom to teach and more freedom in classroom management than in the public schools.

    To be fair and honest, my Catholic school friends do admit it is not all peaches and cream. They get paid about 20% less than public school teachers, often have extra "duties" added to their workload, and less job security with no union.

    Hope this helps.
     
  26. teacherbatman

    teacherbatman Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 17, 2014

    I'm still skeptical based on the fact that the school, teachers, and environment can much more easily be manipulated by parents.

    I'm sure it depends on the school and location. Hey, if Catholic schools have been improving, that's a good thing. Like I said, I was making a generalization which isn't always true. If it's becoming less and less true, that would be just great.
     
  27. CDOR79

    CDOR79 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    307
    Likes Received:
    17

    Apr 22, 2014

    Thanks so much to all those that replied. Everyone made some great points! The biggest factor is the salary again but that IS enough to really consider it. Unless I can find a summer job that pays at least $10K (impossible!) then I need to really consider public schools.

    Thanks again!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 308 (members: 0, guests: 287, robots: 21)
test