Teaching in a Boarding School

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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 teachers' strong influence on them. This is a major reason many parents send their sons and daughters off to boarding school.

This video offers an overview of Woodberry Forest 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 are concerned, possessing a teaching license is good. You will have hurdles to jump over if you are a foreign national. They are not insurmountable but they are very real.

This video offers a look at The Madeira School.

There are a few tricks to applying for a private school job. The main one is to ensure you get across your love of teaching. Beware if you are seeking employment at a boarding school for any other reason. You must love teaching AND you must love being around young people 24/7. If you don't, you will not be happy and you will not last long.

If you are invited to the school for an interview, expect a serious vetting process. Schools are extremely particular about hiring new faculty. They will most likely send you around to several people, including a dean, a head of school, her assistant, and your future department chairperson. Be prepared for a thorough grilling if the powers that be decide you are a serious contender for the position. Are you gay? Be honest about your lifestyle. In many schools, it will not be an issue.

If luck is on your side, you will receive the happy news you have been waiting for. Welcome to St. Swithin's!

Resources

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