Teaching in a Prep school

(10 Posts)
cuggles Thu 24-Apr-14 16:22:07

hi all, am currently on a career break but have taught for 15 yrs previously, in fairly deprived schools. I would like a change when I return to teaching and having been a HOY and very pastoral centred would like to focus on curriculum development/teaching and learning etc. A job has come up at a local prep. school which is a sector I have been considering for a while but I wondered if anyone could shed any first hand experience on it. I imagine parents are very demanding and involved, which I would relish actually (I think!) I am secondary trained and it is a subject specific role (yr 5-8). Also, I keep reading that once you move into teaching in Independent schools it is hard to move back to the state system?? Thanks in advance to anyone who has a minute to respond!

toomuchicecream Thu 24-Apr-14 20:05:32

I was once offered a job in a prep school but turned it down because I was advised by all my friends that I'd be bored - I rather suspect they were right!! If you are looking for a role to fit round your family then I'd definitely give it serious consideration - I would have been required to teach/supervise clubs until 5pm so wouldn't have had flexibility to leave early if I'd needed to, but the reduced marking and planning would have been a more than adequate pay off.

I think that if you only spend a year or 2 in an independent school and then go for state school interviews able to talk about what you have learnt and how you will use this in a state school, you shouldn't have a problem. It will be if you stay for too long it could get tricky. But if your career break is longer than a couple of years you could have problems getting back in too.

Not sure my ramblings will help you too much. In your position I'd definitely go for it and see what happens. As a wise friend once said, you need to push against the door and see if it opens. You might even find you love it so much you don't want to leave!

cuggles Thu 24-Apr-14 20:48:01

Thanks for your reply..yes the boredom is what worries me to be honest..i am used to feisty inner-city kids.oh yes flexibility to get away is a good point too. Funnily enough I just text the same query to a good teacher friend and she said it isnt for me she felt for the same reasons as your friends! As for getting back into teaching..have had 3/4 yrs out so yes I am aware it wont be easy..but thats a whole other thread! Thanks

teacher54321 Thu 24-Apr-14 21:06:01

I work as a subject specialist in a prep school, there are pros and cons as there are to any jobs:
Pros:
No marking (practical subject)
Three days a week all in.
No exam stress, I don't have to deal with gcse, btec and a level marking and general hideousness!
Shorter terms.
I get to teach my subject to little children who are really enthusiastic smile it's much more fun than senior teaching
Flexibility

Cons:
I miss the banter with teenagers
Bigger staffroom so more people to potentially gel with
Can be a bit lonely as a one person department
I miss teaching my subject to a higher level

Lottiedoubtie Thu 24-Apr-14 21:10:21

You won't be bored! That is a myth put about by people who don't understand independent teaching IME.

You'll be busy, but you'll have more independence in what you do.

Clubs/extra curric/sport/weekend commitments are likely to be high.

NCFTTB Thu 24-Apr-14 22:09:53

Go for it - you will love it! In my experience the parents are extremely supportive and appreciative and the children are delightful. I have moved between state and independent twice without issue but I much prefer teaching in the independent sector. Good luck!

Theas18 Thu 24-Apr-14 22:22:57

DS teaches prep - subject specialist in 2 areas and year 3 math/English/ form tutor.

He loves it. It is harder/ longer hours than state sector but more freedom and higher standards a lot of the time - though it is not selective. No specific special needs support though ....lots of responsibility for subject areas though and the kudos for a job well done though ..

However taking the kudos means also, for instance taking the stress for inspection success etc too.

I think it is his " forever " job...probably

Parents are more challenging. There is a " we pay you, you get them into grammar school" element (without them doing anything!) even if the child isn't that bright.... But if you are a mature experienced teacher then it isn't thar difficult.DH had years of people handling experience in industry so it is second nature to him.

cuggles Fri 25-Apr-14 07:24:49

Thanks everyone..much to think about but really useful replies! Much appreciated!

goldenlilliesdaffodillies Fri 25-Apr-14 15:49:42

I teach in a Prep School (specialist subject). Before that I was a primary school teacher. I love working in a Prep School but if I am honest my heart is in the state sector as I felt I could make more of a difference to children. Having taught just my subject for the last 5 years I am sometimes abit bored but now I am in a position where I can start to expand my role more.

A Prep School is really driven by the Headteacher and they can make a huge difference to the ethos of the school. Check out if it is a private business or charity. If a private business a school can literally shut down over night. This has happened to a few schools in this area recently.

PROS:
less stressed, trusted to get on and teach- there aren't endless observations, I can decide exactly what I want to teach and can be more flexible with planning, classes are small, no major behaviour problems, inspections are by IAPS who seem much more constructive and less destructive than Ofsted, resources can be easily ordered if needed, children are allowed to be children and have fun and fresh air!

CONS:
can be lonely, sometimes need to battle with other departments for time to do things, parents are more demanding- some act as if they own you- they pay for a service and expect their money's worth (but can also be VERY supportive), days can be longer (eg children arrive at 8am, you could be working until 7pm if doing a club), Heads don't always recognise Unions and can sack people easily!

I would say go for it and see what happens. It doesn't have to be forever if not for you.

teacher54321 Fri 25-Apr-14 21:11:08

Also another thing-I'm lucky because there is a lot of work to do in my department, there's a huge amount of improvement and modernisation to be made and I think I'll really be able to make a difference in the next five years (until DS is settled at school when I'll probably look for another job) if I was coasting and all the hard work was done for me, I'd be bored I think. We have yearly appraisals, lots of CPD and meetings, BUT I am very free to do what I like during lessons and to plan my extra curricular commitments as I see fit. Management is more hands on than I'm used to in some ways, but generally very supportive and caring.

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