Public vs. Private school teaching

Discussion in 'General Education' started by GTB4GT, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Due to relocation, I have several job interviews in the next 2 weeks. One of them is a private school, the others are public. My teaching experience is in a public school. I am sure this has been discussed here many times before but for those who have taught in both what are the pros/cons to each? For some background, salary and benefits are of very little importance to me. What IS most important is school culture (I prefer growth mindset vs. "doing what we have always done"). As always, any input is very much appreciated.
     
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  3. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    You will find private schools to be just like public schools - no two are exactly alike, so it will be up to you to use due diligence to find out which schools will be a good fit. I know that there will be those who post about all public or all private schools, but there is no such division of ALL of either. Finding out what the schools are supposed to favor, especially in private schools, where the tuition is something parents have to consider, should be fairly easy. Finding out about the ratings of public schools are, well, public, but that may not tell the whole story. Enjoy your fact finding on any school you are seriously considering.
     
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  4. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I worked in private schools only. There were many reasons why my jobs were perfect for me. However, keep in mind that you most likely will find far fewer benefits offered by private schools and I don't know of any in my area that actually offer pensions upon retirement. It is sometimes possible for the years spent in private school employment to count toward years (and brackets) in the local public school. I have known someone who got those years credited to her step raises and years required for retirement. Anyway, if those things are relevant to you, take them into consideration. Remember, too, that they may not be important just yet, but may well be in the future. That's what happened to me.
     
  5. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    I have only taught at private schools, and I have talked with public school teachers. I know my class sizes are much smaller than public school class sizes. Also, most private schools have more discretion about which students stay at the school if the student is misbehaving in terms of not doing homework, failing courses, plagiarizing or cheating, getting into fights. But I think the public school teachers get paid more than I get paid in my area. Also my private school is lacking resources that the public schools have like Special Education teachers and diagnosticians, a library, a good physical education area, good sports teams.
     
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  6. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    :yeahthat:
     
  7. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I worked for almost 30 years in the private sector before entering education. So I feel fortunate to have already taken care of my retirement planning. Thus I am freed of having salary/benefits enter into the equation of my job search. (Trust me, I felt a lot differently on the topic when I was starting out). So, 'job fit" is about the only criteria that will factor into my final decision. If I do not find the right fit, then I will look outside the education field again. Life is too short to have a job/career that you don't enjoy. I have read this site long enough to know that there ARE (unfortunately) bad work environments in this field.
     
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  8. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Many private schools are private for a reason - the students are not easy to teach, have their own set of problems, or it is a euphemism for SPED/ED/BD/addictions or trouble with the law. Some public schools may lack funding, which doesn't mean that there isn't a wonderfully caring and creative staff who believe in challenging students, showing them that where you start doesn't have to dictate where you will end up. We have several forum members who I admire greatly for their tireless efforts, but my admiration will probably never get them a significant raise or the recognition they deserve.

    I hope that you will find exactly what you are looking for and bring dedication and fresh ideas to a school that will work for you.
     
  9. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    many thanks for the encouraging words.
     
  10. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I agree with Vickilyn, it basically depends on the school and school district, rather than if the school is public or private. I've worked mostly in Christian schools. Most have very small class sizes, but size doesn't always make a difference. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book David and Goliath, cites research indicating that many teachers teach smaller classes the same way they teach larger classes. Sometimes this is due to the way the school is structured and how the teachers are requested to teach; some private schools have strict guidelines on this. On the other hand, gearing lessons to the smaller class does have advantages.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I know that you say that salary isn't a factor for you, but I want to caution you that salaries at private schools can be significantly lower than those at public schools in the same areas. The two private schools in my hometown pay about 1/2 the salary offered to the teachers in the public schools there. The median salary for public school teachers is around $45,000, so you'd be well under federal poverty guidelines at $20-25,000. Of course there are other benefits to working at a private school for a low salary, but the salary really could be a deal-breaker depending on where you're looking. You could make more money parking cars or working at Best Buy than what you'd make at some of these private schools. Certainly some private schools pay more, maybe even more than the local public schools. In my experience this is rare.
     
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  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'm originally from the Upper Midwest.
     
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  13. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I've seen this in CA, too. It's hard to find private school salaries, but one parochial school I did find the info for paid about $30k in an area where starting salaries are around $50k. And then retirement and benefits need to be factored in as well.
     
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  14. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    My mom retired from a parochial school and she made significantly less than what teachers here in our local school district earn. She always said teaching at a catholic school was her calling, though.
     
  15. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    These are usually alternative schools, though. I think you'd be able to figure out if a school fit this category pretty quickly. In my experience, private schools generally cherry pick their population, leading to far fewer "issues" than public school. Private schools seem to have very defined cultures and climates. (Not better or worse, necessarily. But there is an image to uphold.)
     
  16. MrFrank35

    MrFrank35 Rookie

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    Every school is different. Are you able to go tour and really get a feel for the environment?
     
  17. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I was fortunate enough to get a tour last week while my school was on spring break along with the opportunity to speak with both faculty and students. The admin was very transparent during the interview process. Also got a job offer from an inner city public school in the same city. This school performs at a very high level and the offer presented was for teaching honors courses, which fits well with my strengths as a teacher. I feel very lucky to have the options but the schools absolutely couldn't be more different on the surface. Each has its own fascinating set of pros/cons and I will probably visit each one more time before making my final choice. as mentioned above, finding the right fit will be the deciding factor for me.
     
  18. teacherguy111

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    Apr 4, 2017

    I've worked in both. I worked in a christian private school and had very small classes (10 students). There also wasn't much of an emphasis on state testing. The students took one but there wasn't as much weight to it as there is in the public school that I am in now.

    The only downsides were pay and benefits. Which I can see are not a problem for you. I would probably still be working there if it wasn't for this. We also had a few problem children. Some kids go to private schools because they have challenges that were not being met by the public school system. For example social issues or emotional issues.

    Obviously I can only talk about my experience and I am sure that it is different in different schools. I also worked at a STEM magnet school which was kind of a bit of both worlds.
     
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  19. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    In private school, I got a lot of "we're not paying this much in tuition for our kid to make a C" business. But private school parents are generally more responsible with seeing that notes are returned, homework is turned in, etc. In public school I have parents (of kindergarteners) say "I won't read to my child at home". Yeah, literally. Private vs. public is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.
     
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  20. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    I haven't seen any formal surveys on this, but I've noticed similar situations in Christian schools, where the structural aspects of reading and language seem over emphasized. Sometimes less emphasis seems placed on reading independently, listening to parents/teachers read, and writing stories and essays. I don't see this as an overall philosophy of all Christian schools, and I've seen this philosophy resolving into a more balanced approach.
     

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