Private school teachers do not belong to a teachers' union. One of the great strengths of a union is that it connects like-minded workers, keeps them informed of trends within their industry and promotes solidarity. These are all laudable aims. How does a private school teacher achieve all that?
Keep your network current Think of all the people you meet in person or electronically every day. Keep email addresses for those colleagues and others whom you consider valuable in some way. Perhaps you admire a colleague for her leadership in a particular area such as laptop computing or Web 2.0. Leave a comment on her blog. Email her. You don't have to write an epistle. A few words of positive support and encouragement are all that is needed. Ask for help. It is impossible for anybody to have all the answers. Your colleagues are a wonderful resource. Keeping your network current allows you to utilize those resources fully.
Blog Blogging is one of the most effective ways for you to stay connected. Blogging is free. It's easy to do. Think of blogging as an electronic journal. Jot down your thoughts. No need to fuss about syntax or grammar. Blogging is free-form. Read other blogs. Leave comments for those bloggers. Create your own blog in a private school community such as Independent School Educators Network.
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds help keep you connected to news and information you want to know. Simply put, there is far too much information out there for us to manage efficiently. In the old days you bought magazines and subscribed to journals. That's just not a 'green' solution to information gathering. All the information which you need is online anyway. Use an aggregator such as Bloglines or Yahoo to collect the articles you want to read. Then spend an hour or so weekly scanning the material you have selected.
Attend regional and national conferences Attending regional and national conferences is a great way to meet colleagues, learn new ideas and techniques and generally heighten your awareness of current trends in your chosen profession. Most private schools have budgetted for such events because they benefit the school as well.
Take courses Completing your master's degree or taking courses towards an additional certificate also has the benefit of connecting you with new colleagues. Consider applying to be an Edward E. Ford Foundation or Klingenstein Fellow. Both these organizations have independent schools as their focus.
Your Teaching Contract Hasn't Been Renewed? Private school teachers are not unionized. So, if the school decides not to renew your contract, you have little recourse. Here are five suggestions for safe-guarding your employment.
What About Teaching Overseas? With the job market looking bleak, teaching is an option many recent college graduates are considering. Teaching overseas has all kinds of attractive features. We look at private school teaching jobs and explain what is involved in finding one, applying and more.
What About Being an Intern? Thinking of teaching in an independent school? Several schools have teaching internship programs. Here's what's involved.
Is Your Network Keeping You Connected? The non-unionized private school teacher has to create her own ways of staying connected. Staying connected keeps you informed and gives you a sense of solidarity.
Do You Need a Rebranding? If you have been teaching for a few years, chances are that you will need to consider rebranding yourself.
Asking Good Questions Asking good questions at your job interview will improve your chances. Conversely asking bad questions will damage them.
Job Search: Matching Your Qualifications Matching your qualifications with what the school is looking for is one of the most important parts of the job process. Get it wrong and you might miss getting an interview.
Gay Teachers Several prep schools have pushed the envelope of diversity by allowing committed same sex couples to live on campus in school housing.
A Teacher's Influence Never underestimate the influence you have on your students. You may not think that you are getting through, but you are! This little bit of fiction shows the influence teachers had on some famous people.
Becoming a Teacher Later Many people have successful careers only to realize that something is missing. Teaching can satisfy that missing 'something'. Explore the possibilities of becoming a teacher in your 30's, 40's and even your 50's.