public vs private - transferring?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ron6103, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Jul 1, 2013

    I know there have been a few similar posts over the years, but many have related to private Catholic (or otherwise religious) schools, and so I wanted to post and get some feedback.

    I currently work for a public school teaching high school social studies, and have been there for five years. I have tenure, and teach a core academic subject... thus have fairly solid job security. However, I have a potential job offer at a relatively well-to-do private school that is college-prep oriented, and not religiously affiliated. I would also have to move, as the school is about four hours away from my current home. That said, the school is substantially better academically.... my current school has an average ACT of around 16, wheras this school hovers around 26-27. My current school has around 40-50% that go to college, where this school is virtually 100%. So I'm looking at two radically different student bodies.

    So, I wanted to garner some opinions. Would any of you consider a move like this, giving up job security at a public school for a switch to private? For those that work in private schools, how does your pay compare (I am in the final selection process, so pay has not yet been discussed, but I will ask at my next meeting). Are there any pitfalls I need to be aware of? Any input would be appreciated.
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Is the academic success of the private school students the only reason you want to move?
    If so, I, personally, would not make the move. If it were local, I'd consider it more, but to uproot everything and have less job security is not something I'd gamble with.
    Plus, I find a completely different set of challenges with the higher end students. Sense of entitlement, helicopter parents, etc... It isn't all rainbows and unicorns ;)

    (Note- I really need to go to bed! My figurative language is atrocious!)
     
  4. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I would not even consider it. Everything you described is in favor of the public school.
     
  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Yikes! I can't imagine starting over again (losing tenure, being a probationary teacher, no job security, etc.)! Plus, I'd have to sell my home. No way!

    I agree with everything "Giraffe" said, too. :2cents:
     
  6. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Well, the two things that make me think about it are: A) a more academically focused school and student body and B) the school is closer to a major city where my family lives, so while I would indeed by uprooting myself, it wouldn't be to an entirely unfamiliar area, and I'm not yet married or otherwise tied to a location.

    But... would it be better to teach at a private institution, or would the potential downsides outweigh any advantages? That's where I'm stuck in my own head for now.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Does this school have a teachers' union? Or would you be at the mercy of the board of directors?
     
  8. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    In the long run, I would probably stay in public school. I've been teaching in private school- well-to-do/high academic independent schools (1 non-religious and 1 Catholic)- and I love it and what I can do as a private school teacher, however, I know I'm making at least $20k less and I don't have as good of a retirement package as if I was in a public school position. There is no such thing as tenure in private school- which is honestly not a big deal, but you do have a higher risk of being laid off if enrollment is low (which is a huge issue for a lot of private, independent school since more and more families are unable to afford private schooling).

    The pros is that the school calendar is shorter (we have longer holidays during Christmas and Easter since I work at a Catholic school and we have 20 less scheduled days than what the state requires for public school), you tend to have a lot less behavioral issues (the worse thing my classes will do is be overly chatty), parent involvement is pretty high (sometimes too high :p), and you don't ever feel like you have to "teach to the test" since most private schools don't do state testing. We have a lot more freedom to provide creative projects and lessons since classes tend to be smaller than some public schools (largest class I have is 20 students- most are around 15 students). Depending on the private/independent school, you tend to have more $$$ per student to spend on materials.

    As much as I love teaching in a private school and probably won't leave my job, my husband is working on his teaching degree and we're hoping he will get a public school position for the extra money and benefits- especially since I would love to be a SAHM should we have children of our own.

    I would definitely look into the private school position and see if you can afford to take the position. I honestly have no regrets.
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    We don't have any unions at my school and it has never been an issue. I was laid off from one of positions, but I was told in February and my supervisor and principal did all that they could to help me get a new position.

    Private schools know that their good teachers will quit if they don't provide good salaries and benefits- good independent teachers can easily get another position at a better school. So while we don't have unions, in my experience, we haven't been screwed over either.
     
  10. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 2, 2013

    Feel free to pm if you have any questions :love:

    This is a great resource to check out about independent schools: http://www.nais.org/Pages/default.aspx
     
  11. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Jul 2, 2013

    I would choose the school with the better students and community every time, public/private being very much a secondary consideration, unless some ideological commitment or masochistic impulse compels you to beat your head against the wall at the lesser school.
     
  12. kab164

    kab164 Companion

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    I teach in a public school, but would have considered a catholic school position if it hadn't been a 25 mile drive. I did a practicum in a catholic school in college. It was my favorite school. The teacher I observed told me she makes less money but she would not leave. She said the parents are extremely supportive and she had very few behavior issues. I know you will make the right decision for you.
     
  13. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    I have done both, and I would probably stay with the public school. There are pros and cons to each. In the end you need to weigh what is best for you.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I wouldn't let the ACT scores sway me.

    We have a private school nearby that has great scores. Small population and very entitled students/parents. The grades are given and the students must attend ACT/SAT prep sessions and repeatedly take the tests until they get good scores. They get into great universities and flounder.

    I'd much rather work at a school where students are expected to earn their grades than one where I must give them whatever their parents can afford. Middle of the road is where I'm happy.

    Now, if I had to choose between a school that had metal detectors, half my students were in and out of jail and few could read at their grade level, I'd choose the entitled school in a heartbeat.
     
  15. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    Jul 2, 2013

    I'm making that very switch this fall.
    After decades in public schools, I'm moving to one that sounds much like the one you describe. The reasons I'm making the move:

    • I want to TEACH, not give tests.
    • I want to teach students that care about school. Or at least have families that care.
    • I want some autonomy and creativity in my curriculum.
    • I want to teach where science has the same standing as math and reading, even if it isn't part of AYP.
    • I want to teach where AYP doesn't mean anything.
    • I want know that disruptive students will not interfere with teaching and learning in my classes.
    • I want to be treated as a professional educator, not a cog in a machine.

    I'm at a point in my life where the salary and benefits aren't the first concern, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at both in my new school.

    I've never had a union, never needed one, that's no big deal.

    My new school has a waiting list to get in (they cap enrollment) so I'm concerned with losing my job due to number of students.

    This school is for the wealthy, although big $$$$ in scholarships is given every year, and that will present a unique set of situations. However, I've taught in affluent areas before, and I much prefer over-involved to non-involved. That's just me.

    Ultimately, you know what's best for you. I can tell you I'm so excited about the change, I can hardly stand it.
     
  16. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    Jul 2, 2013

    I've worked in both and would never go back to public unless there was a crazy good incentive. At private I have total administrative support, I get to actually teach, I get to know my students very well, and I get to branch out with other courses/activities when I want.
     
  17. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I went from teaching at a Suburban Boston area School to an inner city private school almost four years ago. I don't regret the decision, I have much more academic freedom as both a teacher and a principal. I went from a school that had a good reputation and good students, but was falling because it was catering to the Lowest Common Denominator. The last straw for me was when we increased Honors and AP history courses past 25 students in order to have remedial courses for our lowest achievers.
     
  18. bek3

    bek3 Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2013

    I was offered a position in a private (Mennonite) school for a full 20k less than my current job four years ago. If you are able to do that financially go for whatever makes you happy.
     

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