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Updated May 26, 2016 |
The Private School Survival Guide for Teachers
There are several differences between teaching in a private school versus teaching in a public school.
Perhaps you are thinking about teaching in a private school in the future or maybe you just started teaching in a private school during the current academic year. This article is written with you in mind. If you are coming from a public school, you will find several differences between teaching in public school and teaching in a private school. The differences are even more pronounced if you take a teaching position in a boarding school. If you have never taught at all, then the following article wil raise points and issues  for you to consider.
 
Students who want to be there
 
Teachers want to teach. We love our subject. We want to share it with our students. Unfortunately it can be difficult to teach when you are more concerned about maintaining order in your classroom than you are with actually teaching. When you have a large class of, say, 30 or 40 students, maintaining order is an ever-present issue. On the other hand teaching a small class of, say 12-15 students, allows you to engage your students more or less constantly. It is very difficult for students not to be engaged when the size of the class is small. 

Students attend private school because their parents want them to get a first rate education. The admissions process can be quite rigorous involving as it does testing and interviews to determine if the student is a good fit for the school and vice-versa. As a result, you
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Updated May 26, 2016 |
Are You a 21st Century Teacher?
21st century schools need 21st century teachers. Are you a 21st century teacher?

Are you a 21st century teacher? Are you adapting to new ways of doing things? Are you challenging your students to think critically? Are you preparing them to become global citizens? Yes, I know that you have taught for years. Your students have achieved excellent scores in their Advanced Placement exams. You are highly regarded both in your school community and within your profession. Again, I ask whether you can call yourself a 21st century teacher. Let's review some of the characteristics the 21st century teacher has and why these characteristics are so important.

It is a different world.

As the United States faces unprecedented challenges both at home and abroad, the need for schools to have teachers with a 21st century viewpoint and 21st century skill sets has never been more obvious. Dynamic, visionary teachers are needed to shape the minds of new generations of citizens who will have the abilities and creativity to lead and guide our country. If this sounds radical, it really isn't. It is the same principle and thinking which caused the Phillips family of Exeter and Andover fame to found those highly-rated schools back during the American Revolution. Those school founders knew that the infant nation needed well-schooled, well-trained people to lead it in the years ahead. They believed in this country and the concept of universal education so deeply that they put their money where their mouth was and created schools which still, to this day

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Updated May 25, 2016 |
What Is Praxis?
Praxis is part of the teacher licensing process many states require.
What is Praxis?
Most states require public school teachers to be licensed. Part of the licensing process is taking and passing Praxis I and/or Praxis II. Praxis I tests your competence in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. Many education programs will accept Paxis I scores in place of SAT or ACT scores. They basically test the same kind of readiness for tertiary level academic work.
 
Praxis II consists of subject or content tests. These are offered in standard subject areas such as Spanish, physics, language arts and so on. If you seek to be licensed as a physics teacher, for example, you would pass the Praxis II exam in physics as part of that requirement.
 
Where Do You Take the Tests?
Most people take the computer-delivered tests. These are held at testing centers in your local area. The Praxis site has a convenient test center locator. You register for the test at a time of your choosing online. You pay the fees online. The fee scale ranges from $50 to $139 depending on how you bundle the various tests.
 
Praxis and Private School Teacher Certifications
While private schools are not required to employ licensed teachers, they do value those credentials. Licensing establishes a teacher's adherence to a standard of teaching practice, just as a degree in your subject establishes your knowledge and understanding of that subject. Put another way, a teaching license on its own proves that you have met certain minimum standards in the art and skill of teaching. You wouldn't have an angioplasty done
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Updated February 08, 2017 |
Gay Teachers
Several prep schools have pushed the envelope of diversity by allowing committed same sex couples to live on campus in school housing.
You won't find gay teachers in most religious schools where homosexuality is not tolerated. But you will find gay teachers and gay couples on staff at many top prep schools.

What's going on here? Aren't those schools sending the wrong message to their students? Not if the school takes the view that sexual preferences and one's life style are a strictly personal matter. As long as a teacher or staff member is qualified and competent, what does his sexuality matter.

We live in a far different world than was the case a generation or two ago. The old customs and mores have forever changed. To be sure being gay generates controversy and division in communities. Look at the serious schism which has occurred in the Anglican Church as a result of the ordination of an openly gay bishop.

Nonetheless, it takes courage for a board of trustees to employ openly gay staff. That's exactly what Phillips Andover did in 2000. The only catch is that the staff must sign an affidavit confirming that their relationship is a committed one. The lesson and example being taught here is profound: that a committed relationship deserves respect and should be upheld. Students who are seeking answers about their own sexuality will feel more inclined to discuss such serious matters without fear of retribution or derision. If a school is to truly champion diversity, then allowing faculty to live on campus in committed relationships is just one more aspect in teaching
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Updated June 09, 2016 |
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.

If there is one thing which I have learned over many years of teaching, it is that our students learn by example. They learn not only the lessons which we try to teach them, but also lessons which by their very nature are perhaps more subtle and implied. These are the lessons which children often learn by osmosis or example. 

I also know that the lessons learned and the impressions made when a child is young last a life-time. This is one of the biggest responsibilities which we teachers and parents have as adults. Young minds process information quite differently than adult minds do. We have to constantly be aware of that. That doesn't mean that we have to dumb down information and concepts. It just means that we can assume nothing when it comes to how a child's mind will process the information it receives.

The following is pure fiction, of course, but it makes one wonder how things might have turned out if some of these teachers had tried a different approach. Perhaps if they had framed their arguments differently or taken the time to ensure that their students understood what was been taught, there might have been different results.

 
40 a.d.

Setting: High on one of the seven hills of Rome


Aurelius Flagellus Horribilis looked up from his table. The three discipuli in his charge were supposed to be working on their times tables. "What is taking them so long?" Flagellus muttered to himself, and got
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