April 14, 2013
These are tough times for teachers. It doesn't matter whether you teach in a public or private school setting. You expose yourself to legal risks every single day on the job. Your chances of getting sued are probably on a par with having an accident while driving. When you drive carefully, observe the rules of the road, stay alert and drive defensively, most of the time you will be OK. But, things happen for which you are not to blame. Like the time I came down one morning to get into my car to drive to work. Somebody had backed into the front end of my vehicle. Thank goodness I had insurance. Double thanks that the person who backed into my car left a note with her contact info and an apology together with a statement that her father would pay for the repairs.
So, let's look at liability from our point of view as teachers. (I am not an attorney, so read my general layperson's comments and observations then run questions by and seek advice from your attorney.) This mnemonic DIRE lays out some of the issues we need to watch for. Protecting yourself is so important. Nobody else will look out for your interests as well as you will.
In the old days most of us professionals would keep a day book. You kept track of your appointments and schedule in it. But also used it to document what was said at interviews and meetings. Our recollection of events...read more
November 14, 2012
It's late fall/early winter. Suddenly you begin to put the hints and signals together. That promotion is most likely going to one of your colleagues, not you. After you rehash what is probably going to happen and why, you decide that it's time to move on. A change of scenery and new challenges will do you a world of good, right? Absolutely.
Then it dawns on you that your curriculum vitae is out of date. You haven't revised your resume in years. Sadly you realize that your resume and all your other job-searching skills are so, well, 2008. Not to worry. Here are some strategies for 2012's very competitive job market.
Get involved. Stay involved.
Hopefully when you arrived at St. Swithin's five years ago, you decided to get involved. I'm not talking about involvement at school. That's expected. I am endorsing your involvement in local community activities. Belonging to a service club or singing in the local choral society, for example, gets you out meeting people. Did you attend any workshops offered by your state independent school association? Better yet, did you help organize a workshop? What about those regional, state or national conferences in your subject area? Yes, it requires time and effort and no small expense to attend conventions. But you need to get your brand out where people can see it and experience it.
Getting involved unfortunately is not a quick fix to your immediate situation. But at the very least begin to take steps wherever and whenever you...read more
November 13, 2011
Yes, many private schools have teacher intern programs. And, no, they are paid positions. Now that we have those two questions out of the way, let's explore what's involved with private school teacher intern programs.read more
Who is eligible?
Recent college graduates are what most independent schools are looking for. The appointments usually are for one year and are full-time positions. Schools look for young men and women who have a degree in a specific subject area and can make a meaningful contribution to the life of the school and who are passionate about their subject.
You get to teach under the watchful eye of a mentor assigned to you. If you are in a boarding school (most internships seem to be at boarding schools for whatever reasons) you will also be assigned a dorm in which to live where you will act as a residential advisor or counselor. A permanent member of staff will have overall responsibility for the dormitory in which you will be living. You will also be expected to coach a sport or perhaps supervise an extracurricular activity.
Why go this route?
The most compelling reason has to be the reality that you will get to teach the subject you love to young people who want to learn. Better yet, because of the strict codes of honor independent schools have in place you won't have to worry about dealing with a class full of unruly teens. They want to excel just like you did. Another advantage to interning in an
September 11, 2011
The reality of being a private school teacher is that you will have to face an annual deadline called the contract renewal. If you are doing a good job, this annual rite should not present any problems. But what if things are not going well? You are unhappy. You sense or perhaps have received a written communication indicating that things are not going well. What to do? In any case let's look at the renewal process from the school's point of view.read more
Why then should we renew your contract?
Give me lots of reasons why we should do so.
It may sound obvious, but we hired you in good faith. You interviewed well and seemed enthusiastic about teaching here at St. Swithins.Your transcripts and references were sound and everything checked out. Consequently we had great expectations.
For the most part you have not let us down. Your lesson plans are well thought out. You present the material in an engaging manner. You incorporate technology into your teaching effortlessly and effectively. Your classroom management and communication skills are very good. We particularly like the way in which your students respond to you and the subject. You are easy to understand even when explaining material which is complex. You have a high helpfulness quotient. That's so important when students have questions or need a point in the lesson retaught. Students must always feel that they can ask for help without any judgment being made. Your assignments make sense, have a stated purpose and are clearly...
September 05, 2011
If you are looking for a teaching job in 2011, then you understand how tough the situation is. Because of budget cuts in the public school sector, there are tens of thousands of qualified teachers looking for employment. While that is an advantage for private schools because it increases the applicant pool, it makes it much more competitive for those of you who want to secure a private school teaching job. Use my Job Search Resources
to understand the mechanics of finding private school employment. If you haven't interviewed in a few years, make sure you do a couple of dry runs. Same thing with your resume. Polish it off. Lean on a trusted mentor for help and advice.
There was a little piece on NPR
which caught my attention. While they were discussing employment in the corporate world, I believe that some of the same concerns and advice also apply to teachers. Simply put, if you have a job, stay put unless you are being forced to move for non-job related reasons. Let's look at the pros and cons of looking for a job while you are employed versus not being employed.
Advantages to being Employed
Unless the school you are working at is in financial trouble, stay put. Don't let minor disagreements or annoyances mushroom into a deal-breaking situation where the school will not renew your contract. Don't let it come to that. Swallow your pride but stick by your principles. Otherwise you really will be...
PublishedMay 29, 2013 Ever wish you could pick the brain of A+ students? Well, we did it for you — we spoke with dozens of students and educators to find out their secrets for success.