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private school teaching



I'm not sure where on this board this post belongs. Anyway, I am a college student studying elementary education. However I just don't feel like I fit in with my program. Seems like tons of people in my program want to teach in the inner city urban areas to minority children. And my college definitely promotes that. I however couldn't dream of doing that and have no desire to. I know I want to teach in the private schools. I get the rudest reactions from people when I tell them that. I've heard people say that private schools already have good teachers and I should really consider teaching in the inner city cause they need good teachers more. I'm sure thats true, but I don't think it would be good for me to teach in a place that I am miserable. I did my methods semester last semester in the inner city and hated it. I hated that there were kids in so-called regular classes that could barely speak a word of english. I hated how the school had such little parental involvement and I was just miserable. I have to do student teaching this upcoming semester also in the inner city and am just dreading it.
I really think children deserve a teacher who wants to teach them. I can not stand these bilingual and ESL programs. The home lives of some of these kids are so sad. I feel really sorry for them, but I know this is something I just can't deal with well.
Another reason I think private schools would better suit me is for religious reasons. I hate how in the public schools we have say "winter holiday" or "winter party" and how we have to mention all holidays, not just Christmas. I would love to teach at a private religious school where I am free to discuss Christmas and Jesus' birth without fearing that I would get fired.
I will be so glad to finish college in May, but feel that my college program was just not for me. I picked my college based on financial reasons. They just stressed too much about teaching in the inner city. I wish colleges would realize that not everyone is cut out to be that kind of teacher. I don't think that makes me unsympathetic to what children go through, I just don't see myself teaching children who live in poverty. I think I'd be much happier in private schools where parents are involved and their children always have their needs met. I've taught in private schools before as a teacher assistant and loved it. I know all schools are different, but I really hope to get a private school job.


Senior Member
paying dues

Have you posted about this before? It sounds familiar.

All teachers have to start somewhere and you're not likely to get your dream job right off the bat. Keep an open mind about the school your placement is in and learn. That's what student teaching is about.

My first job was in a small, low-income rural community on the Mexican border in Texas. I'm from Wisconsin, so it was nothing like where I came from. No, I didn't really like it there, but they had hired me and I did my job and learned a lot. I stayed 6 years before moving on. I'm glad I had that opportunity to learn about people who weren't like me. I was more than ready to leave when I did, but the experience has proven very valuable in the years since. I'm teaching a remedial class now and I've found I can work well with at-risk kids. Probably because I've learned not to judge and meet kids where they are. I never would have guessed it would be my niche several years ago.

You don't have to want to teach in the inner city. It's tough and not for everyone. You do need to learn everything you can while you student teach. Go in with an open mind, learn how to deal with the problems that appear in those schools, and be receptive to learning about the way things are. Don't shut down because you're so upset because in the inner city things aren't as they "should be." The facts are there is not a lot of parent involvement, many kids struggle with English, attendance is poor, home lives are difficult, class sizes are large, and ESL and bilingual programs are necessary. These issues don't change the fact that as a teacher you work with what you have and the students you get. You need to learn how to do that--whether or not this is the type of setting you want to teach in.

Student teaching is about learning. And there's a lot of lessons in an inner-city. Don't discard them because "this isn't where I want to teach."

Also remember that your first job may not be the one you really want. We all have to start somewhere. You might start out in a less than ideal school for you.


don't teach in an inner city

but you will learn a lot during your student teaching. I taught in an inner city school when I first started teaching. I learned an incredible amount about teaching reading. I decided to switch to private school because my own children were small at the time and inner city teaching is very demanding. I had nothing left over for my own kids. I went to teach in a parochial school and I was able to bring lots of great ideas and things I learned from teaching at that inner city school. I was there for several years and I loved that, too, especially all the parental involvement.

We left the area and I taught in a public school in a rural area. I loved it. When I returned to the city years later, I returned to an urban school. It's still tough. I love my babies, but I hate all the paperwork and unnecessary stuff we have to do. (I'm thinking about returning to parochial schools!)

If you don't want to work in an urban school district, don't. You will be miserable and the students deserve better. (As far as the quality of teachers, I learned the most from those teachers who worked in that first inner city school I taught in. They were phenomenal!)


Senior Member
Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher in an urban school. When you graduate, do not apply to those districts.


Senior Member
catholic school

I had all of my field experience and student teaching a a prety rough district.. I then subbed for a year after that. Since then, I have taught in a Catholic school for the last 14 years.

It is different from the public school. Some better and some not. You still have kids who have problems. Not all kids come from goos home lives. Not all parents are involved. Not all students come without learning or behavior problems. ANd the pay definitely is not where near public school..

That said, I would not change my job for a million dollars. I love what I do, where I do it and who I do it with. Does that mean that I will not go to a public school if something happens to my school? No. Right now, this is the place for me. I feel it is a calling for me to be here.

If you do not feel comfortable in the public school setting and you feel that it is not the place for you, you shouldn't be there. It would be a disservice to you and the kids there. Good luck finding a position in a private school. I hope you can find a place that you feel is part of your heart as I have.

Marie from PA

c green

Go where you think will be best

This does sound familiar--either you've posted about this problem before, or there are a bunch of you with similar issues. Either way:

What I'm hearing you say is this: You do not want to teach in a school where there are a lot of English learners. You do not want to teach in a poor area. You want great family involvement at the school you teach at. You want to be free to discuss your religion openly at the school, and teach about it to your students

Clearly, if this is all true and not flexible for you, you're right. You shouldn't be at an inner-city school, and probably not at a public school, given the religious issues. A private Christian school in a middle-class or affluent area might be ideal. I think there are many schools like that out there, although I don't know about your area, or how many openings there are likely to be.

I think it's good that you know what you want, and I'm sorry you're not feeling supported in this by the college you find yourself at. Start to research schools that might work for you now. Think creatively--would you be willing to deal with a secular school if it met your other needs? How about a Christian school with parental involvement, but lots of English learners? Send them resumes, ask for informational interviews, and see what's out there. You mention being a teacher's assistant in the past--would one of the schools you worked for be interested in having you return as a teacher?

As for the upcoming student teaching--if there's no way out, go through. Grit your teeth. It sounds like a lot, but one semester goes pretty quick. Take a positive attitude--this school isn't for you, but you're going to do your best for their students while you get your credential finished--and take the experience for what it's worth to you.

Do what works for you. Soon you'll be out of college. If they still want you to do inner-city teaching, well, that's nice. Probably many people from your program will. They won't be your problem any more, and you can look for jobs that best suit your skills and needs.

Stick to your guns. A happy teacher at a private school is a lot better for everyone than a bitter, frustrated teacher in a public school who winces everytime someone says 'winter break'.



I agree that you need to teach where you will be happy. I can only say that you need to find a way to be happy where you have to teach. Jobs are hard to come by and will be even harder if you do not have a good student teaching experience. You need the recommendations and you do not want them writing that you are not a good fit for an inner city school because then no school will take you - private or public. Go make lemonade out of your lemons. Take a look at the view while you are there because sometimes people are stuck in places they don't want to be (poverty).


Senior Member
This does sound exactly like another post :)

I went to college in a small city, but it had some "rough" schools, which is where the university always put us for methods and student teaching. I really learned a lot while I was there, and now I know I could teach anywhere if I had to.

That being said, I have chosen to teach in private school. The other schools are way too demanding, and I can't tolerate some of the issues that go on there. I love teaching in private school, and I don't think I could go anywhere else.

I think you need to go where you are most comfortable. Enjoy your student teaching, learn what you can, and then do what you want after you graduate. The university puts you in urban schools so that you can learn to teach anywhere. Private schools need good teachers too.

Tchr from TX

Private schools are easier to get into here

I don't know what area you are in, but there is no shortage of public school teachers in my area. I think it is easier to get into private schools here. Some of the religious schools here don't even require a teaching certificate. The private schools here pay less than the public schools, though. The point is that you may be able to find a job in a private school faster than you would if you wanted a job in the public schools.

However, as another poster already said, private school doesn't guarantee the kids will have no problems. For one thing, divorces are very common, and it would be hard to find a school without children of divorce. I hope you find what you want.


Senior Member
Private school

In my area, Private schools are just a difficult to get into as Public schools at the moment. You need to understand that as the population grows and changes, the schools have to adapt. I teach in a private school, and while I don't see the the same volume of problems my friends in the public schools do, they still exist. We are moving more and more into the inclusion, and pull-out programs that the public schools have been dealing with for so long. There are advantages to both public and private. You should be prepared financially if you decide to go private.
Even though I have the same education, etc. I earn about a third of what a teacher in a public school with the same years of experience. I also get far fewer benefits. My reasons for teaching in a private school are directly related to what I feel God has called me to do at this time in my life. It could change at any time. Remember too, that even if you can't overtly express your faith in public school, you can show God's love to your student's in a very real and meaningful way.
Best wishes to you, as you make your decision. -|---


Senior Member
By all means, apply for the jobs that appeal to you. There is no obligation on your part to do missionary work in the inner city, if that is not in your career plans. Some people feel called to work with the neediest kids and families, which is admirable, but a graduate school can't guilt you into feeling that way.

I would have some conversations with other students in your program to find out what your options are in terms of student teaching. Wherever you're placed as a student teacher, know that you are gaining valuable experience in a relatively safe situation - it is not your permanent job and you will have the support of a cooperating teacher, as well as a professor to go to if things really aren't working out.

A thornier issue is that of your feelings about religion. I don't know where you live, so I don't know what options are available to you as far as finding a homogeneous religious community school that meshes with your personal beliefs. Your stated preference couldn't be further from my own experience teaching in private school, where we have numerous kids adopted from other countries who celebrate holidays from their home culture, and many devout members of different religions who want their cultures and beliefs respected. As a teacher, I believe it is more important to connect with individual children and to learn from one another. I'm certainly not interested in converting anyone to my spirituality. If that is what you want to do, perhaps you might want to look at teaching religious school.

I think you will find a range of parental involvement and religious commitment, even in a religious school - I know many parents who send their children to religious schools simply because that is the best education available, but don't share that particular religious outlook.

In my experience, families are all human. You will find the same problems and challenges regardless of how much priviledge is in the community. The difference is that richer families have more of a safety net, more of an expectation that they will be helped and that things will turn out all right. But don't expect all light and happiness just because the community is priviledged.

I hope you find a job that is right for you.


teaching minorities

I'm working on my masters in education and our instructors are from back east. I live in a small rural area in Montana. The instructors are constantly talking about diversity and the great things about teaching minorities too. I want to say get real! I haven't had a minority student in 10 years! What the dickens is wrong with teaching a school full of white kids if that's the only population we have for 800 miles. :)

try it

Catholic SChools

I taught in catholic schools for 7 years before getting a public school job (in an affluent area, teaching gifted and talented students).

In Catholic schools, you can expect less pay, but they've come a long way over the past decade. Some parts of the country pay more than others. My benefits were always pretty good and they do offer retirement plans. You also don't have to deal with any ESOL issues or severe behavior or learning problems. I think it was a very nice way for me to start my career and it really prepared me for the job I have now. In Catholic schools, however, you can expect some of the parents to be "over involved" and to have unreasonable demands now and then - that happens in public school too, of course, but probably not as often. Some parents who send their children to private school feel like they have the right to the grades they want because they paid for them. It all depends on how your administration deals with such things.

I would be like a first year teacher all over again in a "regular" public school classroom. I have never delt with severe LD, ED or ESOL.

Anyway, I'd recommend working in Catholic schools - but your public school certification will expire unless you take steps to take classes and attend workshops to renew it. That happened to me... when I was hired in public schools my license was expired and I had to do all kinds of hard work (take several classes) to earn enough points to get it reinstated during that school year.

The only reason I went to public schools is because my family moved and commuting to my old school was no longer possible. I put my resume' in to catholic and public schools all over my new area and the public schools gave me the best deal.


Full Member
Some of the comments here really concern me:

I am a second year teacher, and trust me, what you observe as a student and what you will actually experience as a teacher are totally different. You go in with one view about education, and after your first year as a teacher, you have a totally different outlook. The best advice I can give to any student-teacher is to learn as much as you can, but don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. You become better at your job when you have had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings.

Because the need for teachers is so great in larger, urban areas, there is the possibility that your first 1-3 years in education may not be in what you consider your most desireable locations. Public suburban school districts tend to be more selective, choosing candidates with at least 2 years of experience and/or a master's degree. And while you may be able to land a position at a priviate/parochial school without all of the mandates given to public school educators, you risk taking a significant cut in salary and benefits packages.

Please excuse if this question comes across as confrontational: exactly what is the problem with teaching students whose ethnicity/cultural background is different from one's own ethnicity/cultural background? Would it not make for a more experienced, well-rounded professional who is able to adapt and adjust and meet the needs of more than one student prototype? Isn't diversity something that we should ALL be striving for, even if we live and work in a homogenous, monolithic environment? Isn't education about equipping these kids with as much information about life and the world around them, which includes exposing them to concepts and ideas outside their own surroundings? At least that is the bag of goods we sell to poor black and latino kids in the ghetto...then doesn't that apply to those kidos in the 'burbs as well?
Don't make the mistaken notion that the problems with "inner-city" schools are attributed to "minorities" or language barriers. Crime, lack of parental involvement, behavioral/social problems, and low academic performance are socioeconomic issues that transcend race and culture. In this country, children from housing projects face the same issues as children from trailer parks.

Although it is challenging and at times very difficult, teaching in a non-suburban school gives instructors an opportunity to reach children who desperately need help. It takes resilience, tenacity, and courage to teach children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged and struggle academically. Everyone wants the "good kids": the ones who are smart, and well behaved. Geez, all teachers wish they could have that. Unfortunately, that's not realistic; if every teacher could have a "normal" classroom, then we would be walking away from students who need us the most, leaving them with ill-equipped and underqualified teachers.

When a teacher is uncomfortable or approaches a student with preconceived ideas because of their race or socioeconomic background, that child will pick up on it IMMEDIATELY, and it will be difficult to reach that child and have any success. When teachers give up on students and write them off without trying, students have no incentive to excel. Children do not learn when teachers are uncomfortable, passive-aggressive and condescending, which is what I see at my school each and every day. The behavior of some of the teachers were I work is disgusting; employee morale is low and I want to leave. But my reasons for wanting to leave have nothing to do with the demographics of the student body or the curriculum I have to teach. I strongly believe that if teachers were given the PROPER support (i.e., curriculum that actually makes sense, staffing, aides/assistance, competitive salary packages/benefits), then more people would desire to teach. However, large urban districts are so grossly underfunded (or the district mismanages the funds), and the teachers and students are the ones who suffer.

At the end of the day, we all have to do what is right for us. We all make decisions based on our needs/wants. It is my opinion that teachers who don't want to teach minority students or teach in a large, urban district shouldn't. The teachers are better off...and so are the kids. Our schools are packed with teachers who simply don't care about these kids and are there to simply collect a check.


teaching minorities

I have to say that I love my classes. I teach English to HS Seniors and Sophomores; 85% of my students are black, 10% asian and the rest white. I've found the best way to approach teaching minorities when you are of a different race is to teach topical, contemporary literature that appeals to their interests. We are doing a unit on the Harlem Renaissance and the kids are really responding to it. I think they appreciate the fact that they are not having to read anything by those "dead white guys".

That being said, I'm teaching in a district that does not cater to their demographic and student skill sets. They are trying to be a so-called "academic" school that pushes their students into 4 year colleges. These students aren't capable of that. It's all about the numbers. That's why I'm leaving.

So, if you want to teach, regardless where you are going, make sure you investigate the district fully first. Sub there. Ask to visit classrooms and observe before you accept the position. Make sure you pay careful attention to the other teachers and students anytime you are there. Don't go in blind. Good luck!