Teachers make a big decision when choosing to work at a public or private school. Both options have many positives and negatives. This is a closer look at teaching at a private school.
Benefits of Teaching in Private Schools
Small Class Sizes
Private schools have an average class size of 10–12 children. In contrast, public schools have an average class size of 25–30 children. Smaller class sizes are generally due to smaller schools. Private schools generally have 200–300 students, with most not having over 1100 students. Public schools generally accommodate 2,000–3,000 students.
The smaller class sizes of private schools are good for teachers; a 2002 study conducted by academic researchers David Berliner and Bruce Biddler found that children in small classes tended to preform better on standardized tests. This means that teachers at private not only will likely have an easier time managing their classes but will also likely look better to their employer and to parents after standardized tests have been taken.
Private schools have a more specific curriculum than public schools. Many private schools offer religion classes, church, and science classes with an emphasis on faith. In fact, 80% of private school students attend a private school with a religious background. Other private schools may have a specific focus on the arts, mathematics, sports, or a higher caliber of education in general.
Only 59% of teachers in public schools, compared to 85% of teachers in private school, feel that they get support from the parents of the students. Parents of children in private schools are also generally more involved in their children's education. The communication between the teachers and parents keeps everyone on the same page. Social events and parental involvement in decisions makes the environment more communal than the environment of public schools.
Public schools have been in the news for a number of violent tragedies recently. Private schools are safer than public schools. In fact, private school students experience half the amount of violent crimes as students of public school. Teachers have the same risk, and the risk for teachers is also reduced in private schools.
Challenges of Teaching in Private Schools
The largest negative about teaching in a private school is that the teachers usually make less. In fact, private school teachers make about $10,000–$15,000 less than public school teachers. On the other hand, more private school teachers are happy with the school that they work at, despite the pay.
Less Government Involvement
This can be a benefit or a hassle, depending on the situation. Private schools do not get government assistance. Private schools also don't have to face as much bureaucracy. However, private schools don't have to adhere to government standards for children with special needs, and this means that some children may not get their specialized needs met.
If you are a teacher looking for a place to work, then visit with teachers at both public schools and private schools such as International School of MN to find out more about what the work environment and conditions are like.