For Teachers

The articles in this section are related to teaching at a boarding school. Learn more about what is being taught, why small class sizes work, and the impact of sustainability on boarding schools. You’ll find a list of eBooks about boarding schools, be able to view pictures of boarding school life, and explore course offerings.
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A Survival Guide For Boarding School Teachers
Teaching in a residential school brings its own challenges as well as some very powerful advantages. Here's how to survive your stint as a teacher in a boarding school.
Perhaps you are thinking about teaching in a boarding school in the future or maybe you just started teaching in a boarding school during the current academic year. If you are coming from a public school, you will find several differences between teaching in public school and teaching in a boarding school. If you are a new teacher, then we will raise several 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. There really is no place for them to hide.
 
This video illustrates teaching at Lawrenceville School using Harkness tables.

Students attend boarding school for many reasons. Most of all, their parents want them to get a first-rate education in a well-supervised environment.  Often the parents have demanding careers which do not permit them to be available when their high school-age children are not in school. It's a parent's biggest worry, after all. Who is
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Is Your School on Brand?
A boarding school is a business. Is your business on brand?
Boarding schools must never forget that they are businesses. Private schools must continually attract new students to stay in business. Public schools have a steady supply of students. That supply is more or less guaranteed by the fact that public schools must take every child living within their jurisdiction. Private schools do not have a built-in supply of new students. They have to go out and find those students the old-fashioned way, by selling the school and its attributes to every family they can. 

In several ways, boarding schools are a tougher product to sell than private day schools. As much as a boarding school makes great sense regarding the complete package it offers, many parents find it difficult to send their children off to a residential school in 9th or 10th grade. Parents may be aware of a couple of boarding schools which family and friends attended. On the other hand, most parents do not know much about individual boarding school programs. 

I have written this article with boarding schools which do not have a full-time marketing department in mind. These schools have talented admissions and administrative staff who have to wear many hats, often all at once. So, I hope that my suggestions and advice will help them stay on brand. You see, a boarding school has to market its story and make its case to a customer base which consists of families with children in 6th through 9th grades. Reaching these families is the key to full enrollment
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Why Small Class Sizes Work
Small class sizes are one of the main reasons why you send your child to boarding school. Here's why small class sizes work.
Small class sizes work. In fact, small class sizes are one of the main reasons why you send your child to boarding school. Here are some reasons why small class sizes are so important.
 
1. There's nowhere to hide in a small class.
 
Imagine your child is in a large high school class of 30-35 students. She's not good at math. Most of the students in her class don't understand math and could care less about it. So your daughter hangs out in the back of the class, keeps quiet and tries to pay attention. The distractions and cutting up going on around her mitigate against any meaningful learning. Your daughter falls further and further behind in math. Sadly, public school class sizes are increasing as school districts struggle with budget deficits. Class sizes of 30-35 students are common.
 
Contrast that learning environment with 12-14 students seated around a Harkness Table in a boarding school. A Harkness Table is an oval table. The teacher sits at the table with his students. Immediately students are placed in a situation where they have no choice but to engage and interact with each other and with their teacher. A Harkness table creates a climate for learning. This video discusses teaching in large versus small classes.
Implicit in the small teaching groups is a climate of tolerance. The views of each individual are expressed. The critical thinking skills are practised and polished precisely because the small group allows time for that. Large groups
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What Is Being Taught?
You need to know what is being taught before you decide which boarding school is best for you.
 
One of the most important considerations in choosing a boarding school for your son or daughter is what goes on in the classroom and in the larger school community. In other words, what are they teaching and how are they teaching it?

You must never assume that, just because a school enjoys a solid reputation, has been there forever and looks wonderful on the surface, it will provide the kind of teaching you want and expect for your child. Doing your due diligence with respect to the curriculum and how it is taught has to be one of the most important parts of your school evaluation process.
 
This video compares what is taught in private schools with what is taught in public schools.
 


Here's how to proceed.
  • Observe
  • Question
  • Research
Observe
 
When you visit the school for your admissions interview, try to do so while school is in session. Summer visits are often more convenient for all of us, but you won't be able to observe any classes. Summer sessions do not usually offer a typical classroom experience. So you cannot judge the teaching or what is being taught by what you see during the summer. The teaching staff is frequently not the same as the faculty who teach during the year. Because it is summer, the whole atmosphere is much more relaxed.
 
When you visit the school and observe a class, is the class size small? Do students interact with the teacher and each other? Are the students
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Teaching in a Boarding School
Teaching or working in a boarding school is quite unlike any job in a day school.
Teaching or working in a boarding school is quite unlike any job in a day school. Why? Because in most schools you will live above the store as it were. Most faculty, deans and heads of school as well as some key support staff such as the admissions and development directors are housed in school accommodations as part of their conditions of employment.
 
Home and School
Boarding schools are self-contained communities. Students and faculty eat together. They share relaxing times watching TV and playing games together. That is because teachers and staff in a boarding school function in loco parentis. They take the place of parents literally and figuratively. They play a powerful role in shaping and guiding their young charges while they are at school. Because the students cannot escape at the end of classes, they cannot avoid the strong influence teachers have on them. This is a major reason many parents send their sons and daughters off to boarding school.

Finding a Job 
How do you find a job in a private school? The best way is to use your network. Alums, colleagues past and present, friends and family constitute the most important group of people who know you and can attest to your suitability, skills and experience for employment better than anybody. They will often be your references simply because they are fans of your work and know you intimately. As far as credentials
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Recent Articles
The wide range of fine academic, athletic, and other facilities found in boarding schools underscores the determination of schools to provide the very best for their students.
A junior boarding school offers certain distinct advantages for the middle school aged student. Here are five reasons why you should consider choosing this option for your child.
Teaching in a residential school brings its own challenges as well as some very powerful advantages. Here's how to survive your stint as a teacher in a boarding school.