Jobs in Private Schools

This section focuses on tools, tips and articles related to working in a private school. We’ll cover marketing yourself, resume tips and contract negotiations. Learn more about the availability of private school jobs, the difference between a cover letter and letter of interest, and what impact you can have as a teacher.
View the most popular articles in Jobs in Private Schools:
A couple of common mistakes will quickly move your employment application to the bottom of the pile. You may think that yours is the only application for that math teacher position at Shady Grove Country Day School. Unfortunately, in these very tough economic times, your application will be one of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of applications for that coveted teaching job.

Think about how an administrator determines who should get interviewed. She's advertised the position in all the usual places. Every business day she receives dozens of envelopes from applicants. Why should your application go on the stack of applications marked 'interview' instead of the one marked 'reject'? Because when she scans your application, she sees most of what she is looking for. Remember: she's a very busy person. A lot is riding on her choosing the best candidate for the position which she has to fill.
 
Depending on how hands-on a person she is, she may delegate the initial scanning process to an assistant. Assistants can be very diligent and do things exactly as their boss specifies. Or perhaps not. For all these reasons that's why you need to avoid the following common errors.

1. Poor Initial Impression
Never fold your cover letter or letter of interest and the required supporting documents.  Always insert unfolded materials into a manilla envelope. Use a paper clip to keep documents together. No stapling please. On the bottom of your pile of documents put a piece of cardboard 8.5" x 11 . . .read more
If you are a recent college graduate looking for a job in this horrible employment market of 2009,  you probably have thought about teaching from time to time. We need teachers. We need talented teachers. In both public and private sectors. At home and abroad.

Abroad? Yes, there are plenty of teaching jobs overseas. Hundreds of private schools in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean are always looking for qualified teachers. Of course, you probably have already seen dozens of emails from ESL schools in Taiwan. Are those jobs real? Yes, they most certainly are. But, caveat emptor. Do your research carefully. There are some lemons in the bunch.

But we are not talking about only ESL teaching jobs. How about teaching in a country like Argentina? Say you are a Spanish speaking graduate with a degree in American language and literature from Brown or Boston University. You have worked hard getting that degree, but the job market here is nasty and you don't want to start your master's degree for a few years. So, why not get out into the world and gain some real life experience. Alejandria will show you listings of all the schools in Argentina.

Many of these are international schools whose students are English speaking. Why is that? Places like Buenos Aires have large expat communities. They usually insist on sending their children to a school with an American or English style curriculum so that their children can . . .read more
Finding a job in a private school is a process which takes many months, sometimes much longer, to accomplish. The following timeline assumes that you will be flexible and open-minded. Finding your dream job is not always possible. It is much more realistic to try to find a position which has most of what you are looking for now as well as the potential to turn into that dream job you are seeking.
 

Winter
 
  • Make arrangements to meet employers and be interviewed at the NAIS Annual Conference which takes place in February/March. Check the NAIS site for time and venue.
  • Review openings listed on Klingenstein Job Bank.
  • Review openings posted on various state, regional and national association websites.
  • Attend interviews.
  • Negotiate job offers.
  • Request official copies of your transcripts, certifications and degrees.
  • Notify your network as soon as you accept a job.
  • Send hand written thank you notes.

Spring/Summer
 
  • If you are just beginning the process, now is the time to plan your job search.
  • Assemble your portfolio if you teach the art and other practical subjects.
  • Cast your net widely as you search for a job.
  • Be flexible if you can with regard to location and salary expectations.
  • Get unofficial copies of your transcripts, certifications and degrees.
  • If still looking for a job, keep an eye out for unexpected openings. Filling a position just before school opens is always a tough proposition, made easier if your name happens to be on a list of approved, pre-qualified applicants.
  • Scan the job openings.
  • Use summer conferences . . .read more
Applying for a job at a private school is a little different from posting your resume on Monster.com as you would do if you were seeking a position in the business world. One of the things which is different is the presentation of your application materials.

Here are a couple of examples of the conservative, old-fashioned approach to applying for a job most private schools still use.

From Andover:

Director, Mathematics and Science for Minority Students or (MS)2

Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, transcript and two letters of reference.

From Hotchkiss:

Candidates for all faculty positions should send a letter of interest, resume, list of three references, and academic transcripts
 
Preparing the Cover Letter

 

The cover letter or letter of interest is always one page in length. It must be crafted carefully and free of typos.  Follow these guidelines:

 

 

  • Use a plain white paper. This does not have to be a fancy vellum or parchment type of paper.
  • Center your letter perfectly on the page.
  • The letter is typed using Microsoft Word or similar program.
  • Use a plain font such as Arial.
  • The font size should be 12 points.
  • Print the final copy using a laser printer as laser jet ink smudges.
  • Use the address indicated on the school's employment page.
  • Create a customized cover letter for each position applied for.
  • Put the cover letter and your documentation in a large envelope so that you do not have to fold the materials.

 

Here's an example . . .read more
Applying for a private school job has some subtle differences from its pubic school counterpart. Here are five things you must do when applying for a private school teaching position.

1.  Make sure that your credentials are impeccable.  You will probably get looked at for that English position if your degree is in American Language and Literature from one of the better colleges such as Brown, Duke, Stanford or Cornell. If your degree is from Harvard, Yale or Princeton, go to the top of the list. A bachelor's degree is ok, but you better make the right noises during the interview about your plans to finish your master's. Private schools vastly prefer to say that 80% of their faculty have advanced degrees. If your degree is terminal, that's cool too, as long as you are not terminal too.
 
2.  Offer glowing recommendations. If one of your recommendations - and note that most schools will ask for 3-5 references - comes from somebody the headmaster knows personally, that's a big plus. If you are an unknown, make sure that your recommendations are solid, unequivocally glowing ones. Your references must be able to speak warmly and without hesitation during the inevitable phone call which WILL be made to check you out.

 

3.  Be able to coach prep school sports. Prep school sports have their little traditions and rituals. If you know these intimately, your resume will stand out from the crowd. It doesn't matter what the sport or club is which you . . .read more
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Jobs in Private Schools

Basics

Here you'll find valuable information on finding jobs within the private school sector. Get the basics on everything from job searches to salary and contract negotiations. Explore the dos and don’ts of private school employment and learn your marketability quotient.

Applying and Interviewing

Learn more about applying and interviewing for jobs in a private school. Here we'll cover everything from cover letters to interview questions. Get tips on common application mistakes, how to ask good questions during your interview, and marketing yourself.

Teaching

A glimpse into some of the most important facing teachers today. Learn why it's important to be cautious on Facebook. Get tips on switching to a teaching career later in life. And learn how a teacher can influence students and their families.