Public to Private switch?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.SLS, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2013

    I have been working in public schools for the past four years. I also have my Masters. The thing is, I am commuting an hour one way to my current school, and spending about $300/month in gas. The public school districts in my area are a wreck (which is why I left), but the smaller, more functional districts are all about 45 min-1 hr away.

    So, I understand private schools pay substantially less than public. As best that I can figure, I would be loosing $7000 from my current salary - not offset by the $3000 I would save in gas.

    I could still get by on a lower salary, but my question is really what is the major difference in benefits, insurance, etc.

    Does anyone have experience in this area? Am I foolish for considering making the switch?
     
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  3. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Apr 26, 2013

    I know that all private schools are different, so of course, asking the school you're interested in is the only way to really know.

    Several of my family members and I have worked in different types of private schools. We have all been generally satisfied by the benefits provided. They weren't necessarily anything to brag about, but I've never been dissatisfied by what was or wasn't covered, and my parents were able to raise three kids satisfactorily on the pay and benefits provided.

    Some private schools have offered extra compensation for advanced degrees-- my current school doesn't, to my knowledge. So, if one of the reasons for getting a master's degree was increased pay, you may be losing that payoff by moving to a private school. However, I've also seen private schools that hire almost exclusively advanced degree holders.

    Another thing to consider is whether your workload will change drastically. Depending on the size of the private school, teachers sometimes have to wear a lot of hats. For example, I teach three different grade levels of English, two electives, and have even taught health in the past. I also advise the newspaper and coach. Sometimes "extras" include extra pay, and sometimes they don't. So, if you're used to 1-2 preps, there's a possibility that your workload could expand if the school is smaller and they need each teacher to cover more classes.

    Whether or not it would be foolish probably depends on your priorities. If the equation involves the relationship between how hard you work/ how much time you commit and how much you get paid, I must admit it sometimes seems foolish to work at a private school-- if I averaged out the hours I put in and how much I got paid for each, I'd probably be better off working at a coffee shop! However, if the switch will result in more time at home, less commute stress, and your workload doesn't change too much, you are probably "moving up" even if your pay moves down.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 26, 2013

    I wouldn't give up 7 k...I' nearly doubled my pay when I jumped from parochial school to public 13 years ago...
    I m worth at least what I'm paid by my public school.
     
  5. Math

    Math Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2013

    I don't understand how private schools pay so much less. Don't their parents pay high prices for their child to attend?


    P.S. - I love czacza posts!
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 26, 2013

    Thanks math!


    Public schools by definition are financed by the public....and even then the bulk of the budget is not invested in pencils,paper or textbooks... A lot is overhead...building expenses: electricity, repairs, heating, maintennce...add in healthcare,salaries! Benefits, PD...it's A LOT of money...

    Private schools rely primarily on tuition...parochial schools get some funding from the parish... But most private schools can not compete in terms of student services, PD for staff, tech upgrades, benefits, the ability to attract highly qualified candidates...it's a numbers game...
     
  7. Rebecca1122

    Rebecca1122 Comrade

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    Apr 27, 2013

    While I would much rather have the salary of a public school teacher, I prefer my private school in terms of school climate/teacher freedom/admin support over public schools in my area. This may not be true of all private school/all public schools but in my experience, I have way more freedom to teach how I want to teach in my private school. As long as I using best practices and teaching the standards, I have complete control. In fact, since I am the only teacher in my subject area, I hand-picked the new curriculum for the middle school in my department and my P backed my decision.

    I also do not feel the pressure of performance on high stakes testing. Yes, we do take the state test but we have a lot of parental support and our kids generally do well. And if they don't, we make a plan to help us grow as educators to get them where they need to be.... it's not a blame game.

    My colleagues are very supportive of one another and it's not a competition. We are a parochial school, so I enjoy the faith aspect of school as well.

    My time isn't taken up with pointless meetings/PD trainings, as I felt it was when I was in a public school. Whatever meetings/PD I have usually pertains directly to me as a staff member or my content area.

    There are many pros and cons on both sides. I am considering switching to public school for the salary difference alone, but am having a hard time justifying leaving such a great work atmosphere for the unknown. I wish you luck in your decision!
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I did the public to private switch. Unlike most teachers, it didn't hurt me financially as I ended up at a private school that pays about 90% of what public schools pay. I am also happy with my benefits. I am very happy with my switch, but it isn't for everyone. If you look at these 3 main things you should be able to decide if you should switch or not.

    1. I switched so I could teach religion classes that I could not teach at the public school. This new freedom has made teaching more enjoyable for me. Is there something in the private school that you will be able to do that you can't in the public school that means a lot to you? If not, I would not switch. If you are going to make the sacrifice, there needs to be something you are sacrificing for. I think it should be larger than a commute.

    2. Your main job won't be much different. You will deal with students, parents, and a P. The students won't turn into angels because they are wearing uniforms. Overall, your main challenges will be the same.

    3. Your workload will probably increase some. The line of when your work day ends is not as clear in a private school. When $$$ gets tight, they may ask you to do some extra tasks and there will be no union to protect you on this. This will seem small if you have a large and great reason for teaching in a private school. It will be annoying if you don't see many benefits in teaching in a private school over a public school.

    You can see this decision is quite personal. Make it be your decision and be cautious of those who tell you to do it for sure or don't do it for sure. Only you can decide if it is worth the sacrifice of the $$$ and time you will most likely be sacrificing.
     
  9. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Apr 27, 2013

    Hmm... Unfortunately, I'm still so undecided! I work at a very small school, so I also have to take on many extra duties (3 preps, Saturday School, After school Intervention), but I have a great P and a really great community of kids (for the most part).

    I really am just seeking employment closer to home. Driving two hours a day just to get to work is starting to chip away at my sanity.

    I guess it doesn't necessarily hurt to interview. The school is funded by a work study program and primarily serves low-come kids, which is what I'm all about.

    Thanks for the advice and insight!
     
  10. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    Apr 27, 2013

    I work at an independent school. I get pretty much the same salary as the local teachers (~2000 per year MAX less), the same benefits, many more days off, and fewer frustrating administrators. I get to teach what I want, in a manner that I see fit, and I get to work with some of the most brilliant people I have ever met. I love my job so much.
     
  11. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Apr 30, 2013

    I was in private school and maxed out my salary below $30,000 after 22 years. Also, I got a lot of "I'm not paying this tuition for my kid to make Bs." Never mind that the kid never did their homework, etc. Sometimes the school won't back you up because they don't want to lose a tuition-paying parent mad. I'm in public school now making much more--dealing with a different set of problems, but much better environment, and the kids here really need me. God would have to speak to me from a burning bush for me to go back to private. (That's church-related schools and all.)
     
  12. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Apr 30, 2013

    My mom has taught in a private school for 25+ years. She makes far less than what she'd be making in my (public) school district. Furthermore, since she doesn't belong to a union, she gets asked to do things that would never, ever fly in my school district. She's truly attached to her school, though, and has even taught the children of her former students.

    One thing I do envy is the freedom she has regarding curriculum!
     
  13. Miss84

    Miss84 Comrade

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    May 1, 2013

    I began teaching within a private school and now that im in the public school classroom-I MISS IT DEARLY!!
    Being able to actually teach/get to know your students without worrying about the NCLB crap was amazing and I'm thankful for that experience.
    But what I don't miss is the measly private-school salary (about $20K/year)-it was beyond tough to live off of that in an area where the cost of living is insanely high!
     
  14. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    May 2, 2013

    I also teach in an independent school, and the pay is very decent, about 70% of what I'd make at the higher paying public districts in the state, and is actually higher than many charter schools and other lower paying districts. We pay more for health benefits, but it seems like many public districts in the area are headed that way as well. And obviously, the pension contributions are not as generous as in the public sector - public districts in our area contribute between 14-24%!

    Last year I went through 3 grueling interviews at a great public district and didn't end up getting the job, so I was very disappointed. This year I'm grateful because I can't imagine trying to finish my masters while working in a new position in a new system.

    I've also realized that for me, I'm great at what I do because I'm well supported at my current school and I'm allowed to teach the way I want to teach - I have SO MUCH freedom with regard to curriculum, teaching style, etc. and I love this. My school is also supportive with professional development opportunities.
     

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