What Do I Do When....
Life deals us some tough hands to play from time to time. Certainly this can be true while your child is at private school. Certain questions always seem to present themselves unexpectedly at the worst possible time. But life is like that, isn't it? The old, comfortable, and very predictable playbook which you and I used to follow thirty or forty years ago has gone by the boards. Here then are some answers and some resources to help you deal with these tough questions and situations.
My kid has been expelled?
Being notified that your child has been expelled is serious. The timing will inevitably be very awkward. You literally will have to stop whatever you are doing and deal with this crisis. For a crisis this event most assuredly is. The mere fact that your child broke the kind of rules and did something which warranted his expulsion means that you need to get to the bottom of the situation. Why did he do this? Counseling will probably be required. Both for him and for you. What legal recourse do you have? Probably not much. After all, the contract which you and the school signed spells out the consequences for infractions of the code of conduct which guides students' lives at school.
Finding a new school won't be easy, but is doable if you hire an educational consultant to make it happen. If you do it on your own, you will spend countless hours calling and explaining your situation. It makes more sense to have a detached and professional consultant do all that for you. Efficiently and cost-effectively.
I want to find a teaching job?
If you want to teach in a private school, you need to start the process early. That means beginning your job search process in the fall before the academic year in which you anticipate teaching in a private school. All aspects of finding a job in a private school are covered here. If time is on your side, then plan your job search as far in advance as you possibly can. You will not get the results which you want by leaving this major project to the last minute. In the following video, Marjan Glavac offers some advice about applying for teaching positions.
I need to find a teaching job?
It happens. It is scary because it is unplanned. But at least you will have gotten notice that the school will not be renewing your contract midway through the academic year. In line with the previous question, it is very important to have your professional network active and your resume and curriculum vitae up to date. I totally understand that we teachers do not particularly enjoy marketing ourselves. We just want to teach. But, in the 21st century, marketing yourself is much more efficient than it was years ago. Social media, professional affinity groups, and an active presence in your field will make things happen much more quickly than you ever thought possible.
I want to get my child into a good preschool?
A lot depends on the market where you live. Some major metropolitan areas and college towns have a demand for preschool places which far outstrips the supply. Start the process early. Explore all your options. Understand the several approaches to early education. Then choose a school which meets your requirements.
I need financial aid?
There is absolutely no stigma attached to applying for financial aid in a private school. Don't believe what you see in those TV shows like Prep and Gossip Girl. If your circumstances dictate your requiring financial aid so that your child can attend private school, ask. Always ask. Don't hesitate to explore all your options too. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the answers. Don't forget to explore the handful of free schools out there. Perhaps one will work for you. Financial aid pools vary from school to school. Submit your PFS and supporting documentation as soon as you can.
I can't determine which school is the right one?
Choosing the right school for your child is a process. It is a sequence of steps which you follow from beginning to end. Choosing the right school becomes a process of elimination as you delete schools from your list one at a time until all that remain are the two or three which closely match your requirements. Perhaps the fit won't be perfect, but get as close to what you want as you can. Visiting schools will determine which are the best fit.
My child is wait listed?
Being waitlisted is not the end of the world. A place could open up. On the other hand, it might not. If you have an acceptance in hand, go with it. And don't look back. If you have developed a short list of schools with a safe school, a moderately competitive school and a school which is a distinct reach, then you should have at least one acceptance from a school with which you are comfortable.
My child is rejected?
Again, it is not the end of the world to be rejected. It simply means that the school didn't think the fit was right. Remember: you are judging schools from your perspective. The schools are doing the same thing on their end. When you both agree that the fit is right, voila! It simply will not happen with every school for a great many reasons. Some of those reasons include a very competitive application pool for a particular school. Put another way, far more students are apply than the school has places to offer.
I can't visit the school?
If you live at a great distance from the school, for example, overseas, then you probably will need to avail yourself of two options. The first is meeting with school admissions staff when they visit your area. Those visits usually take place in the late fall. Or use Skype or some other video telephony to meet with the admissions staff and ask your questions. Most admissions office are accustomed to using Skype for interviews. Make sure that the location where you are doing your Skype session is quiet and that there will be no interruptions.
Questions? Please contact me via Twitter. @privateschl