Private School Pro/Cons

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by asullins, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. asullins

    asullins Rookie

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    Mar 30, 2010

    I'm thinking about applying to a private Christian school in my area. I know the pay is generally less than public, but does anybody know if they usually offer a retirement plan for teachers?

    I'm trying to take the leap back into the classroom from a pretty good paying govt. job, but I want to make sure I'm making the right choice. Our public schools in the area are in severe budget cuts, so jobs will be really hard to come by next school year. I'm applying to them also, but was thinking about widening my search to include the private sector.

    Anybody have any good advice on private schools?
     
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  3. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2010

    I teach at one, but out of the states, so I can't really answer about the retirement question; however, I can say the smaller classes make things much easier on the teacher. In addition, the parents are typically more supportive. In my opinion, after trying both public and private, I definitely prefer private school.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 30, 2010

    Oh, and I have also heard from other posters here that typically they have more up-to-date technology (not necessarily true in my school). I think you should try for it!
     
  5. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Mar 30, 2010

    I love teaching in a private school. I make more than I would in public school because it is up to the principal as to how many years of experience you are given. I have paid health insurance and dental is $32 per month. I also have a retirement plan plus a 401K that my school matches 6% of my salary. I have small classes (my classes this year run from 12 students to 29 students) The 29 students is way more than my school wants but there was a scheduling problem which we think we have fixed for next year. We are very technology oriented--every student has a laptop and every teacher has a laptop. I have a document camera and projector. I turned down a Promethean Board this year because I write on my tablet laptop and it seemed like a duplication of technology. I have 6 complete sets of NXT robots and 6 complete sets of Vernier equipment. I also have very little to no discipline problems. We do not have to keep nor educate any student and so too many strikes and you are out.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Chemteach just hit on something important regarding discipline. That is true in our school as well, and I am going to guess in most schools. If a student's behavior gets really out of hand, they will be asked to leave. For this reason, you don't have those same behavior issues as you might otherwise have in a public school.
     
  7. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    Mar 30, 2010

    Well the previous posters must work at very affluent schools, but private schools vary across the country. Some may be great while others are worse than the local public schools.
    I currently teach at a private school, and let me tell you the grass is NOT greener over here. I have all the behavior problems I've seen in the public school, with the unresponsive parents to accompany them. When these kids are bad, they get a tap on the hand and keep it moving. The administration is not going to kick them out because they can't afford to lose them.
    There is no professional development, I work with a lot of people who are teaching the same way they taught in the 90's, and aren't open to any new ideas/ or ways to teach.
    I do not have any type of technology whatsoever in my classroom, and although the curriculum is very advanced, my students are missing other special classes like art, music, & foreign language (I over heard the "Spanish" teacher tell my students to say something incorrectly the other day).
    My salary is close to that of a volunteer, and I do not have any benefits whatsoever besides leave.
    So needless to say, all private schools are not the same. My advice to you would be to check out the school before hand, ask about the benefits, etc. so you know what you are getting yourself into.
     
  8. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    Mar 30, 2010

    I totally agree with Miss84. I now work in a public school system, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I taught in a private school for 2 years and it was a parochial school that did NOT have the best interests of the school in mind. The textbooks were outdated, and the technology was pathetically behind. Y es, there are good private schools out there, but this wasn't one of them. And the parents? My experience was private school parents are MORE demanding because they are paying a pretty penny for their child to attend. I dealt with two at that school that made my life a living helll. Yes, there were also supportive parents. Yes, there were some wonderful kids there, but in the end, it was NOT worth it. The pay was horrid, and even though I did have some benefits, there was no retirement. Just like Miss84 said, do your research. Private schools are just that, private. Each is run as it's own empire and you need to found out as much information as you can. I also notice you are in Arizona. Don't give up, even though budget cuts are happening here in the state, there are still districts that are hiring. Apply to as many as you can, and best of luck to you!
     
  9. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Mar 31, 2010

    let's see, when I worked for the Chicago Archdiosese...

    Retirement? yes they had a plan. though they were not a part of the Illinois Teacher's Retirement Fund...so money I put into THAT was transfered to my IRA during that time. When I left the school...I don't know if I can recoop that money when i retire...that was a long while ago and i was only there for 4 years.

    Insurance? yes

    Discipline? Nothing like at the public schools. I think it has to do BOTH with the fact that you are working in a faith community and students are taught daily about the difference between right and wrong. On top of which...if parents are paying to put their kids into a private parochial school (esPECIALLY in this economy) they are VERY involved with their kids and their upbringing. You RARELY see the "I don't give a *#@$!" parent in these schools. So (1) their children behave better, and (2) if there ARE problems that need to be called home about... you GET results.
    I was shocked (after coming from the public schools where some kids - parents and administrators - would rather spit on you than behave) that after the first discipline problem I had to take action on ... that the students came up afterwards (on their own) and apologized to me. they promised that they had learned their lesson and it wouldn't happen again. After that ONE incident (and the fact I caught it IMMEDIATELY and had the kids clean their mess -writing on my stairway walls- up with a bar of soap and a toothbrush when a swipe of fantastick and a paper towel would have done it much quicker) I rarely if EVER had another big discipline problem in my entire career at the school.

    On top of which...
    I don't know where you stand on your faith and how you appreciate or don't appreciate the scriptures... but for me, it was SO wonderful to add stories of faith and scripture to the connections I would help children utilize.

    I miss that. I loved my time teaching there.

    Would I seek a job again in the private parochial school system?... If i could afford to live on the salary that they offered... In a HEARTBEAT!!!

    ****

    Whooops... I have to list the cons as well.

    Ok...

    We (the staff) used to refer to ourselves as the "peace corp". There is a LOT asked of you. Yet, where as public school staff members (especially within a union) are paid for every little thing they do above and beyond (any extracurriculars, afterschool/evening events, etc) you are EXPECTED to do all or most of the extras (including church attendance and working services - on special occasions) with no or little pay. It might be fine if that is your church or faith (and you were going there anyway)... but - well for example, I was the music teacher and I was expected to attend all of the 1st communions, reconciliations, confirmations, and a number of seasonal services - as well as church events - on weekends/evenings/school vacations - without any extra compensation. ((You have to be dedicated and not mind it. My faith was strong, and I love going to church...yet, still it got old.))

    We would be given "bonuses" at Christmas time. For years the bonus was $10 in an envelope delivered to you by the head priest at the Christmas party. Not being a member of the parish..the man didn't know me. Not being of the faith...I don't think he CARED to know me.

    Depending on the upbringing of your adminstration... you might be expected to BE held to a standard that public schools would never even consider. I was nearly fired when the students weren't singing out in school liturgies. Thankfully they DID sing out even more after i nearly begged and threatened them. -- But then - while attending yet another unpaid mass .. i noticed that their PARENTS didn't sing in church. But I was nearly fired because the children were taking after the examples set by their parents (which, hey, compared to their parents...my students were happy songbirds). And God help you if you come across some nuns from the "old school". They won't rap your knuckles with a ruler...but they have their ways of making your life miserable.

    (But...as bad as THAT sounds... the good WAY WAY WAY out-weighed the bad. As I say... i would return in a HEARTBEAT!)
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 31, 2010

    I'm constantly raving about the Catholic school in which I work. I woudn't choose to work anywhere else. My administration is supportive. My kids are a delight. The parents are supportive. The pay is competitive. The benefits are decent. At noon every day, the entire school stops in their tracks and says the Angelus-- even the kids on line in the cafeteria. It's an amazing place to be.

    But, like anything else, you've got to do your homework. Generalities can be dangerous. Every school is different.

    So apply, get the interview, and ask the questions then.
     
  11. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    Every school is different is a true statement. I worked one year in the public school system and would never go back. There was NO discipline. A kid tried to punch me because he did not like a test grade but fortunately another kid pushed me out of the way and he punched the window in the door instead. He got a 3 day in-school suspension and on the 4th day, he was back in my classroom. Right now the school that I teach at is not an affluent school by any means of the word. We have a great development director and all our technology comes from grants.
     
  12. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mar 31, 2010

    I have been in schools with gang members, and where parents are not visible at all. Yes, private schools do have parents who are much more in your face, but from my own experience, I'd take that over unsupportive parents anyday. It's amazing to see what a difference the parents can make. If they back you up, their child will be an angel for you because if not, there are consequences when he/she goes home.
     

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