Work for a Boarding School?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Work for a Boarding School?
By Fredmurtz2 (Fredmurtz2) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:09 pm: Edit

I was just wondering if anyone on this board had any experiences working as either an RA/Teacher at any Boarding High School? If so, in no paticular order,

How hard is it to get a job of that sort?
How diverse is the work environment?
Is it realistic to try for one of these jobs out of college?
Are there any outreach programs to current college students?
Do you need certification?
How is the pay?
Were you happy with your quality of life and work?


By Spoonyj (Spoonyj) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 09:53 pm: Edit

I've never worked in a boarding school, but I currently work in an elite private day school, and I have some professional insight into the questions you asked.

If you're interested in teaching in one of the elite boarding schools, the best way to do this is to take advantage of their internship programs. I know that several schools (Groton, Exeter, etc.) have programs for people just like you, recent college graduates who are considering a career in teaching and want to get their feet wet. These positions aren't permanent--they usually only last a year--but if you do well, the experience is invaluable. The world of private school heads, especially among elite schools, is very small; establishing a good reputation at one school can open a lot of doors.

If you don't qualify for the internship position, or if you really want something permanent, the best way to pursue a private school job is to sign up with an educational placement service; the most widely used is Carney-Sandoe (they're on the web). If they accept you as a candidate, it costs you nothing; the service makes its money through a commission paid by the school that hires you. The service allows you to tailor your job search according to different criteria, including geography and school-type (boarding, day, etc). Initial interviews with schools usually take place at job fairs that run alongside the national professional meetings of independent school administrators. It's a meat market, with hundreds of school administrators interviewing hundreds of candidates, but there is no other way to see so many people in so short a time. When I went to one of these fairs, I interviewed with almost two dozen schools in only a day and a half. The schools that were interested in me then flew me out to their campuses for more extensive interviews. This is usually how it works.

Private schools usually do not require certification. As for pay, it varies widely, with median school salaries ranging from the high-twenties to the mid-seventies. You can get information on median pay for all types of private schools from the website of the National Association of Independent Schools.

By the way, I love working in a private school. But, then, I love to teach.

Good luck.

By Fredmurtz2 (Fredmurtz2) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 10:48 pm: Edit

Thanks so much! I'm currently in college right now and have a while to go, but it certainly sounds like an interesting path to take [you certainly sound satisfied! -- which, to me, is paramount]

By Annieivy (Annieivy) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:55 pm: Edit

My cousin taught at a top boarding school in NH, where she also went to high school. She went right after graduating from Amherst on a program where she agreed to stay for 2 years. She loved it but found it to be very hard work with very long hours. You live among the kids in the dorms and are available to them all day, teach, coach a sport or do something equal and take part in all of the activities. You take them on weekend outings. She said she almost never had off time. You have to really love living in close quarters and being engaged at all times.

By Marite (Marite) on Saturday, September 18, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

I've met several boarding school teachers and they say exactly the same things as Annie. You are never not "on."

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