Top Reasons to Teach in a Private School

Teacher
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Teaching in a private school has many advantages over teaching in a public school: a thin management structure, small class sizes, smaller schools, clear discipline policies, ideal teaching conditions, and common goals.

Thin Management Structure

A private school is its own independent entity. It's not part of a large administrative group of schools, like those in a school district. So you don't have to go up or down through layers of bureaucracy to deal with issues. Private schools are autonomous units of manageable size.

The organization chart typically has the following upward path: staff>department head>head of school>board. You will find additional layers in larger schools, but even these institutions feature thin management structures. The advantages are obvious: responsiveness to issues and clear communication channels. You don't need a union to help you deal with issues when you have easy access to administrators.

Small Class Sizes

This issue goes to the heart of what teachers are all about. Small class sizes allow educators in private schools to teach effectively, give students the individual attention they deserve, and accomplish the educational goals entrusted to them.

Private schools typically have class sizes between 10 and 12 students. Parochial schools generally have larger class sizes, but even they are smaller than those in comparable public schools. Contrast this with public schools, which range from 25 to 40 or more students per class. At that class size, the teacher becomes a traffic cop.

Smaller Schools

Most private schools have 300 to 400 students. The largest independent schools top out at only about 1,100 students. Compare that with public schools with 2,000 to 4,000 students or more, and it's clear that students in private schools are not just numbers. Teachers can get to know all their students as well as others throughout the school community. The community is what private schools are all about.

Clear Discipline Policies

While there are many differences between public and private schools, the primary difference is the approach to discipline. In a private school, the rules of the school are clearly laid out when the teacher signs a contract. By signing the contract, the teacher agrees to abide by its terms, which include consequences for infractions of the discipline code.

In a public school, the disciplinary process takes time and frequently is cumbersome and complicated. Students quickly learn how to game the system and can tie teachers up in knots for weeks over disciplinary matters.​

Ideal Teaching Conditions

Teachers want to be creative. They want to teach their subjects. They want to light the fires of enthusiasm for learning within their young charges. Because private schools adhere to the spirit, but not to the letter, of state-mandated curricula, there is great flexibility in the choice of texts and of teaching methodologies. Teachers at private schools don't necessarily need to abide by state- or local school board-mandated curriculums, tests, and teaching methods.

Common Goals

Private school students are there because their parents want them to have the best possible education. Parents are paying serious money for that service. Consequently, everybody expects the very best results. If a teacher is passionate about her subject, she feels the same way. These common goals between parents and teachers—as well as administrators—make teaching at a private school a very desirable option.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski