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Married With Children Housemaster or Single Housemaster?(5 Posts)
I can see positives in both, and think it truly depends on the person themselves, but does anyone have any opinions?
My DS went to a full boarding school and his HM had a family and Ive worked at boarding schools nearly all the HM’s were married with children. If anyone suffers in the husband wife children HM model it’s his/her family, all HMs I’ve worked with take their responsibilities very very seriously and their wives/husbands and children are definitely coming 2 nd during term time. Some wives/husbands are very involved and but now I suspect most very much keeping the whole thing at arms length (perhaps understandingly), but often their children especially if they’re little are often running around the boarding house which I think us great for older boarders. Personally I think having children of your own subtlety changes you perspective on children in general whether your an HM, a paediatrician, a social worker or an A and E nurse I work closely with all of the above and generally they do seem slightly more empathetic and dare I say it realistic than those who don’t have them.
Most HMs are expected to do about 10ish years but I do know HM’s with families who’ve taken the job and then discovered that the impact on their families is so huge that they chuck the job in, and they also leave their position if their wife/husband gets a job somewhere else so maybe more inclined to move before the 10ish are up. HMs leaving often causes significant upset to the pupils in the house those used to one often find it hard to accept a new one especially if his predecessor was well liked.
I think Andrea Leadsom got into difficulties in the Conservative leadership election for suggesting Teresa May wouldn’t understand families as she didn’t have one! I would just go in the house you like. Single ones might have great characteristics you value and would work for your DS. Married one might be totally wrong! Judge by personality and fit rather than married or not. Married might mean more frazzled!
All I can say is that we were given a choice of two HMs, one married with children and one single, and the single one won hands down. All HMs should be experienced in dealing with keeping boarders happy and busy and dealing with any problems. It also makes a difference if the children are still little or are grown up and have moved away.
As PPs have said there are pros and cons for both, but in the final analysis it is their personality and efficiency that is the most important thing, I'm not sure that their marital status would be a major factor in my final decision.
IMO choosing an HM requires considerable thought. Parents and prospective pupils need to realise that they are not looking for a new best friend or an entertaining dinner companion but someone who when needed will step up to the plate and hopefully do what you as a parent would do in a variety of situation good and bad.
I’ve met many over the years the most effective have definite ideas about how they want things done, they set the general tone ethos and expectations, they are usually figures of authority but still managing to be obviously very compassionate committed and caring about the pupils in their care (not easy). The relationship between the pupils and teachers is significantly more informal than you would ever find in a day school and also the relationship between parents and HMs (who are often very demanding and have unrealistic expectations ) is more informal they have to listen support read endless emails know when to stand firm, when to turn a blind eye (to activities pupils shouldn’t really be doing but that are harmless) when to break the rules be it collectively or for individual pupil, They need to be good judges of personality the shy, the confident the arrogant the lone wolves those who need help making decisions those who don’t, they need pushy pate to laid back parents, deal with complex families not all who are happy frequently acrimonious divorce parents behaving badly etc and accommodate 60+ personalities where often physical space and privacy is at a premium. On top of this they work 24/7 33ish weeks of the year so they need massive physical and emotional stamina.
We DS2 HM having met 3 1 wasn’t for us one we liked very much but as I said above that not really what it’s all about, his HM I felt was totally dedicated to the boys but was also very much in charge. We also felt that if my DS was really struggling he would be there for him although of course you hope you’ll never have to find out. But during his time at school my DS experienced a significant traumatic event, (no fault of the school) his HM did what we hoped and more he supported and cared for my DS I was frankly stunned by his genuine concern he was there for him and the practical support and help he offered nothing was too much troubler. On leaving I asked my DS about him he replied “he’s not perfect at times I find him irritating but I know that he really cares about us and is there for us.” I knew them we’d made the right choice I don’t think a parent of a child who’s boarding could ask for more.
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