Careers in Teaching - Private Schools
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Teaching in an independent school offers several advantages -
- You have a great deal of autonomy in designing and teaching curriculum.
- You are part of a community that values subject expertise, teaching, and learning.
- Classes are small.
- The students you teach are committed to learning and are generally quite able academically.
A FEW KEY ISSUES:
- No certification required at the secondary level - you can teach in most independent schools without state certification or enrollment in a teacher training program. NOTE that most independent elementary schools do require coursework in teaching methods, and some require state certification.
- The hiring calendar - starts much earlier in independent schools than in public schools - most of the activity occurs from January through April.
- Teaching fellowships - some independent schools offer fellowships or co-teaching programs for new teachers, where you are matched with a mentor teacher and may have a reduced course load initially. More information on teaching fellowships.
- Teacher placement agencies - much of the hiring in independent schools occurs through teacher placement agencies like Carney, Sandoe (Cambridge). You register with one or more agencies, to which you submit your application materials, which are then forwarded to schools with appropriate openings.
- Sports and extra-curriculars - teachers at most independent schools contribute to students growth outside the classroom. The ability to coach one or more sports or to advise a major extra-curricular activity such as theater or a student publication is highly valued in applicants.
ARE YOU QUALIFIED?
Laurence Boggess, a former independent school teacher and headmaster and author of Everyone's Guide to Job Searching in Private Schools, has this to say: "The basic qualities that make a good teacher are universal. They are: love of children, communication skills, expertise in a subject or method area, and confidence."
1) Love of Children - "You must enjoy being with children if you want to teach school. Period.... Love of children means giving them your patience, watching them discover, figure things out, fail and succeed, and being the adult on whom they try things out.... Love of children means taking a personal interest in your kids without taking their insults personally.
"More than any professional qualification, independent schools look for signs that a candidate has a rapport with children. During your interviews you will probably be asked to interact with students in a classroom, in the halls between classes, at lunch, or during recess or break time. I am always swayed by a candidate who is willing to be with children in an unstructured situation, hanging around and talking or playing, comfortable with a group of children he or she doesn't know."
2) Communication Skills - "The successful teacher must speak effectively to a wide range of people in many settings: with children in the classroom, with parents in conferences, with adult groups during open houses and parents' nights, with your colleagues in faculty meetings, with visitors and potential new students and families during admissions tours. Teachers must also be able to effectively express themselves in writing. Independent school teachers do a fair amount of writing."
3) Expertise - "Your college or graduate school degree says you are expert enough in your field to teach school. If you possess a degree in science, history, math, a social science, foreign language, or any subject area, you likely possess the knowledge to teach that subject up through high school."
- If you have a Masters degree in one of these subjects, you will have the advantage.
- If you have written a senior thesis or will graduate with honors in your major, that is also a plus.
- If you wish to teach at the elementary level, most independent schools will not consider you as a candidate unless you have taken some courses in teaching methods and pedagogy and have some practice teaching experience. (NOTE that teaching fellowships offer promising candidates a way around this requirement.)
4) Confidence - "Confidence is not cockiness or aggressiveness; it is the assured feeling that you can do a good job. It is belief in yourself. In most teachers I know, confidence waxes and wanes, and the best teachers are the ones who have periodic bouts of self-doubt.... Confident teachers, like everybody else, have feet of clay, but they quickly bounce back from setbacks and usually maintain a healthy sense of humor about themselves and their teaching."
HOW TO GET STARTED
- Register with one or more independent school teacher placement agencies.
- Put together your application materials - have your resume and cover letters critiqued at the Career Center; talk to potential references; write any essays that the placement agencies require.
- Get some classroom teaching experience - this can make a huge difference. Volunteer for an after-school program or teach English to immigrants. The Volunteer and Service Learning Center at BC can provide you with some possibilities.
- Learn all you can about independent schools and the hiring process - get a copy of Everyone's Guide to Job Searching in Private Schools (though it's old, the advice is still useful); read some of the articles from the NAIS link below.
Articles about Independent School (NAIS)
Great resources about what independent schools are looking for in employees; reflections on teaching in independent schools; and more. From the National Association of Independent Schools.
Non-Teaching Careers in Independent Schools
Independent schools typically offer a broad range of non-teaching jobs, in such areas as admissions, financial aid, development and alumni relations, and communications.
Indpendent School Management
Articles on such topics as "Writing and Using Your Statement of Educational Philosophy," "Shifting Careers in the Private School World" and "Administrative Positions Overseas."
Some independent schools offer teaching fellowships for new teachers. These fellowships usually offer promising teacher candidates
- the opportunity to be closely mentored by an experienced teacher;
- to participate fully in the life of the school;
- and, in some cases, to start with a reduced teaching load.
Featured Teaching Fellowships
The Greenwich Country Day School
2010–11 Academic Year
If you are a college senior interested in exploring the teaching field at the elementary level, after graduation we offer a co-teacher internship. Co-teachers work for one or two years with a mentor teacher in a classroom, learning teaching skills and techniques. We provide housing on our 80-acre campus. Compensation also includes a $24,000 stipend, generous medical and dental benefits, and tuition assistance for graduate school. Many prestigious graduate programs are located within commuting distance of Greenwich, CT. The school is located just thirty miles east of New York City.
St. Paul's School Teaching Fellows Program
During the academic year St. Paul's School employs as many as four recent college graduates to serve as Teaching Fellows, joining the faculty for a one-year appointment. The Teaching Fellow Program allows recent college graduates the opportunity to test and develop their teaching ability and style with support from mentor teachers. At the same time, it provides a sense of the responsibilities and rewards of teaching.
Teaching Fellows participate in all aspects of boarding school life, including teaching, coaching, supervising in residential houses, and participating in the many other activities of the School community.
Teaching Fellows are provided housing (including all utilities except telephone), meals, coverage under the School's medical health insurance program, and a stipend of $25,000.
Beauvoir, the National Cathedral Elementary School
Each academic year Beauvoir employs as many as sixteen well-qualified college graduates to serve as Associate Teachers. Typically joining the faculty for a one to two year appointment, the Associate Teacher will be introduced to a program of guided work in the classroom, instructional immersion, professional development, and exposure to the theories and methods of early childhood education.
The Associate Teacher will gain a deeper sense of the many responsibilities and joys of the teaching profession. Associate Teachers take an active part in the life of the School and are integral in helping Beauvoir carry out its mission to instill a spirit of inquiry and a joy of learning in all students. Associate Teachers are appointed to positions in Kindergarten through Third Grade.
Other Teaching Fellowships
Teaching Internships in Independent Schools
Article lists a number of teaching fellowships across the country. From the National Assocation of Independent Schools
Cotting School, Lexington, MA - Cotting Fellowship Program
- Day school for children with a broad spectrum of learning and communciation disabilities, physical challenges, and complex medical conditions.
- 2 years, full salary plus $30,000 stipend for graduate school
High Mountain Institute, Leadville, CO - Apprentice Program
- A professional residency in traditional and outdoor education
- Unlike most teaching fellowships or internships, you must pay a fee to teach here
Philips Academy Andover, Andover, MA - Teaching Fellowship Program
At Andover on a one-year teaching fellowship, the recent college graduate (or graduate school degree recipient) is introduced to teaching in a program of guided work in the classroom, professional seminars, and exposure to theories and methods of experienced faculty. Obviously, the school seeks applicants who are new to the vocation of teaching.
Nobles and Greenough School, Dedham, MA - The Teaching Fellow Program
Each year Nobles hires four to six Fellows to work in academic, artistic or administrative departments depending upon the School's needs for the coming academic year. Eligible candidates are those with less than two years of teaching experience.
NY Interschool Teaching Fellows Program
Offers college graduates an opportunity to gain a supervised teaching experience in their first year of teaching. The eight New York independent schools which comprise the Interschool consortium seek college graduates who have sound academic qualifications, a serious interest in education, a high energy level, a genuine commitment to extra-curricular activities as part of student growth, and a desire to work in a college preparatory day school.
The National Association of Independent Schools suggests considering these issues when looking for a recruiting agency:
- What specific services do they give you?
- Are there fees?
- Do they specialize in certain types of candidates, schools, or geographic areas?
- What restrictions are placed upon you? Can you simultaneously register with other agencies or pursue leads?
- In your field, what were the numbers of openings, candidates, and placements in recent years?
United States placements
Cal / West Educators Placement
Specializing in the placement of qualified teachers and administrators for independent, private, and charter schools throughout California and the West.
Carney, Sandoe and Associates
Provides faculty and administrator recruitment, leadership search, and strategic consulting services to independent, international, and like-kind schools.
Educators Ally, Inc.
Search and placement service for teachers and administrators in the greater New York/Connecticut area.
Independent School Placement
Faculty and administrator recruitment for greater New York City Metropolitan Area independent schools.
Independent Schools Association of the Central States
Teacher and administrator Clearinghouse Placement Service. Over 200 schools in the Midwest participate.
Independent School Consortium of Greater Philadelphia.
The mission of the Consortium is to create a connection with individual candidates so that we can provide member schools with diverse and talented applicants for positions that are available in their schools.
Placement and retained executive search services for school leaders--heads and other administrators--as well as teachers and other professionals. Located in Newton, MA.
Placement company for teachers, administrators and department heads serving New York and New Jersey independent schools.
Southern Teachers Agency
A free placement service that works with college seniors and recent graduates in their search for education jobs in private and independent schools throughout the South.
Teachers On Reserve, Inc.
A substitute placement service serving California's Private, Independent and Charter Schools. They provide teachers for schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Greater Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego.
The Education Group
Nationwide placement, searches, consulting and initiatives for faculty and staff.
Association for International Practical Training
Provides visa sponsorship for experienced kindergarten through 12th grade international teachers for up to three years, and short-term overseas opportunities for U.S. educators
International Schools Services
Placed over 15,000 qualified teachers and administrators in 200 American and international schools around the world.
Places over 1500 teachers, administrators and interns in international schools throughout the world each year.
ALSO SEE our page on teaching abroad.
Don't rely on the Web as your only job resource!
National Association of Independent Schools - Job Board
NAIS site also has tons of useful links and information.
- A Better Chance, Inc.
- American Montessori Society
- Association of Independent Schools in New England
- Canadian Association of Independent Schools
- Cleveland Council of Independent Schools
- Conference of Independent Schools (Canada)
- Council for Spiritual and Ethical Education
- The European Council of International Schools
- The Florida Council of Independent Schools
- Georgia Independent School Association
- Independent Schools Association of the Central States
- Pacific Northwest Association of Independent Schools
- Southern Association of Independent Schools
Academic Employment Network
This Web site offers free access to a database of jobs in education (secondary-school listings are mixed in with higher education and public-school listings). For a fee, job searchers can post résumés or get access to a more comprehensive job-search database.
American Association of Christian Schools
Placement Service Candidates pay a $25 registration fee to use the service.
The following state, regional, and national associations also offer job boards:
Christian Schools International
"Advancing Christian education and supporting schools in their task of teaching students to know God and His word and to glorify Him through obedient service".
Independent School Management
Job board for administrative and leadership roles in independent schools.
At the Career Library, 38 Commonwealth Ave.
- Everyone's Guide to Job Searching in Private Schools
A "must" read, covers everything from using placement agencies to interviewing to tips on teaching a sample class when you visit the school.
- Peterson's Private Secondary Schools
Profiles of 1500 schools worldwide.
- ISS Directory of Overseas Schools
The Comprehensive Guide to K-12 American and International Schools Worldwide Online resources
National Association of Independent Schools
Over 1000 schools, searchable by such criteria as grade level, coeducational or single-sex, and boarding or day.
NOTE: As this site provides only a list of schools but no profiles, supplement your searches with the other two databases below.
Boarding Schools Online
Two excellent databases at this site, one of private schools in general, and another of boarding schools (more extensive profiles). Easier to use than Peterson's, especially if you're looking for schools in a particular state.
American Montessori Schools
An incomplete listing of Montessori schools (may only include accredited schools).
American Association of Christian Schools
Approximately 1,050 member schools throughout the United States and in several foreign countries
National Coalition of Alternative Community-Based Schools
Links to member schools.
- A rigorous twelve-day summer program designed to introduce and mentor first and second year teachers in independent schools.
- Participants will be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses to and from New York, will receive free housing at the International House - Columbia University, will have most meals covered by the program, and will receive a $500 stipend.
- Collegiate is pleased to invite teachers of color ( African American, Asian american, Latino, Native American, and Multiracial Americans) who are in a first or second year of teaching.
- View over 1,000 Job Opportunities in education, as well as the public & private sectors. Minority teaching candidates can search for teaching jobs and post their resume to the database, which employers then search.