Teaching at private school or public school

Discussion in 'General Education' started by tuankiet153, Nov 28, 2020.

  1. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    I am thinking of being a teacher at a private school. Can you please tell me pros and cons? Thank you.
     
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  3. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    I work at a private school. We call them independent schools.
    My class sizes are small, my students are very nice and respectful, the community is very close knit and supportive, (warm) lunch is provided to us for free, there is a generous budget for buying supplies making photo copies, sending teachers to PD (or virtual PD), and I get my own office. Benefits are fantastic and instead of paying into a state pension, we have a 403B that the school matches.

    Cons: pay is a little bit lower for me. (Other teachers claim they get paid the same. I make $10K less.) I also find that rigor is lacking. Where I live, the public schools have a more rigorous curriculum. The students are very coddled and are given too much freedom and "privileges". All teachers have to participate in either coaching a sport or an extracurricular activity. You do get a stipend for it, though. Some people will tell you that paying into the state pension is a good thing. However, depending on how old you are, it's probably not a good thing as we might not see what we pay into it (like younger people with social security). If you open a 403B at a public school, the district will most likely not match it.

    I started my career off in the public school system. Three years ago, I switched over to private school. I like where I work for the most part. My biggest complaint is that there is not much rigor.I don't like our curriculum.
     
  4. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    There is another member (@futuremathsprof) that teaches at a private school and enjoys it. Maybe he can share more details of his experiences but I haven't seen him in a while.
     
  5. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Please be aware that the member referred to has not posted anything on the forums for about six months, seemingly sticking to the decision to no longer frequent this web site, or take part in discussions here. I am not exactly certain about why the member left, but I have watched, to see if there has been a change of heart, and to date, it appears that the decision he made is one he is comfortable with. He is missed, but I wouldn't want someone to wonder why there is no response to an inquiry, so just sharing my observations
     
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  6. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    His input was interesting and very unique. He added some spice here.
    I'll always remember how he explained a math problem in a way that he got a different answer than most elementary teachers got. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  7. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    It varies at different private schools, but most pay teachers less. Just from my own experience, private school gave me a lot of freedom to teach what I wanted and no one was breathing over my shoulder! We could just say, Tomorrow we are going to the forest ( nearby) for a lesson on nature. Parents had already signed forms and we could go.
    I was in 1 public school that gave us a lot of freedom too, but in 1 that pretty much told you what to teach, how, and when.
    I found more unpaid demands on my time at private school b/c it was not unionized. Public school demanded a lot too, but they couldn't make you do certain things on weekends and evenings. Also, they had to pay stipends.
    There was a huge underlying pressure in the private school I was at to keep the parents happy paying customers. If you have a good P in public school, the parents are dealt with better and more fairly.
    I had some top notch kids though in private school. The parents were all highly educated. At Christmas time, I became a believer in Santa. You tend to get much nicer gifts. :)
    I have had top notch kids in 1 public school too. The other 1 it became almost the bottom of the barrel.
    So.......I guess it all really depends on the type of public/private school. Also, it depends on who is in charge.
     
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  8. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    I will say I love my private school. The longer I stay, the more I think I can't leave. That can be dangerous territory lol!
    Pros:
    -small classes
    -flexibility with curriculum - this is maybe one of the best pros - I have a lot of freedom over -how I teach, and am usually supported with what I need to accomplish this.
    amazing school community
    -PD opportunities - What I ask for is usually approved, and there are a lot of great opportunities to learn more
    -Faith-based work atmosphere - this is important to me. I do like being able to talk to students about my faith.
    -Supportive admin
    -Some parents can be overwhelming, but most are pretty fantastic.
    -I wake up every day and want to go to work. That's huge!

    Cons:
    -The biggest con is lower pay, and health benefits are more expensive. Retirement is basically on me, and I'm figuring that out and am a very careful budgeter. I think it may be about 80% of what public schools are paying someone with my experience in my area. It is still a living wage - some other schools that don't pay as well, I'm not sure how people do it.
    -Less economic/demographic diversity among student body - I do have a heart for public service, so this can be hard sometimes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2020
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  9. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    It comes down to your personal priorities which is better, and of course, nothing is universal in either system. What @Tired Teacher said about wanting to keep parents happy is right. The charter I was at was all about keeping enrollment numbers, even to the detriment of the child or school community. We had quite a headache with a boy whose parents sent him to school out-of-uniform on a regular basis. The private school my siblings attended allowed another child to assault my sister because his father was locally influential. He slapped her so hard she had welts on her face, but there was no discipline or consequence. My family left the school after that.
    At the same time, private school parents are sometimes more involved with the school community. We had fabulous STEM family activity nights at the school that were well-attended. My student's concerts were well-attended. Most of my students weren't affluent, but I received many Christmas cards from students/families.

    Classes are usually smaller, though not always by much. My school was supposed to cap at 22, but I had 25-28 in all of mine. On the other hand, classes can be massive if there's not money/space to hire more teachers. My mother had 40 first graders one year at a Greek Orthodox school and no aide, only a mother who volunteered two hours a week.

    Pay is usually not as good as public districts, but that depends on your area. Some places, it's a piddly difference and others may be 20k+ different.

    Public schools offer more job security. Once the year has started, you know you're not getting fired unless you do something wrong. Private schools are often at-will employers who can fire you for no reason at any time, but will use state laws against you if you want to leave. My school accepted PPP funds, then RIF'd a bunch of us. A dear friend teaching at a Catholic school got laid off without cause in October, slashing his chances of finding another position this year.
     
  10. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    Is it right when I say that kids in private schools are academically and behaviorally better than those in public schools? I did a lot of recommendation letters for my kids who were applying for private school. They are all smart and respectful kids.
     
  11. MntnHiker

    MntnHiker Companion

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    I grew up going to private school my entire life, K-12. I have taught at a public school for 13 years.

    No, I don't find kids at private school to be "better" kids. I think they're all good kids, for the most part, whether in private or public. There were definitely smart alec, disrespectful kids at my private HS, kids still got into physical fights, kids did drugs, etc. The difference is that private schools can just expel kids for pretty much anything, at least mine could. They didn't want them to be their problem anymore, so goodbye. In public school, that is not the case.

    I actually prefer the public school environment for those cases. I don't think just kicking kids out for not behaving appropriately is really going to teach them anything about how to be a good human. And there are absolutely AMAZING kids in public schools as well, as I know from teaching in one for 13 years.
     
  12. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    The biggest advantage is that kids who are not doing well academically or kids who pose behavioral problems will be asked to leave. That doesn't happen in a public school. Students get expelled for serious issues - usually involving violence ("making terroristic threats at the very least" type of offenses.)

    If you work at a public school, work at a high performing one. Even though I work at a private school now, I worked at the opposite end of the spectrum in a "Title 1 public school" for nearly a decade. I would much rather be at a private school.

    Yes, it's true that parents need to be pleased in private schools. However, at my school, the administration handles this. Deans, Vice Principals, Principals and sometimes the Head of School will get involved depending on what the demands of the parents are.
     
  13. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    Yep! lol! The parents tend to be very generous!
     
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  14. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    Sorry, I have not been on in a while and didn't realize that he left. I just remember all of his private school stories!
     
  15. Pisces

    Pisces Companion

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    @tuankiet153 Sorry if you already mentioned this but where do you live (which state) and what subject are you interested in teaching? Was it HS Math?
     
  16. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    I am living in Tx. I am teaching HS math.
     
  17. tuankiet153

    tuankiet153 Rookie

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    In the recommedation letters I did for my students, there were a lot of ‘high criteria’ required for those who applied for private school. So, I assume that they are all good kids. Also the cost for a year at a private school is at least 50k; so I assume that they are all rich kids . Teachers will get more generous and beautiful gifts on Christmas than in public school.

    Moreover, In public schools, it is weird that the class is mixed among non-GT students and GT students. (GT: Gifted and Talented). It is just because they were identified as GT students in ES, we are not allowed to remove their GT ‘title’ by law. These ‘GT’ students perform far lower than ‘state average’. It is really hard for teachers and real GT students in classes with a lot of ineligible GT students but we cannot move them out by law. Additionally, ‘no one is left behind’ policy signed by president Bush allows failing students to be promoted to next grade level regardless of their performance or their failing grades. Sad Thats why I am thinking of teaching at a private school though pay scale is lower than public school.
     
  18. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    Deleted
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2020
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    One experience I had when working at a high school that was fiscally quite well endowed, included a lesson or two in how the parents knew how to make the system work for their student, no matter how it might impact others. Let's just say that I prefer the honesty of the second school, which is all SPED. Everyone there has issues, so it is useless to try and play a card where just throwing money at the problem will make the student better able to stay in a public school.

    As far as Christmas gifts, I can live without them. As alluded to above, I expect an above average salary from doing an above average job, and that let's the parents off the hook as well as avoiding undue scrutiny about grades influenced by "a parent's generosity."
     
  20. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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