Teaching is one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers out there. If you’re currently working in the public sector and want to try something new, or you’re a student primed to throw yourself into the education industry, the private sector could provide the challenge you’re looking for.
Within this guide, we’ll discuss how to get a job at a private school, the unique benefits of teaching in the private sector, and a few hints and tips for applying for roles.
There are a lot of universal characteristics that apply to teaching in both the private and public sectors. You must be absolutely passionate about helping young people grow, and have the communicative skills required to facilitate that growth.
Dedication and drive are always going to be important in teaching, but there are some characteristics that are especially relevant to those choosing to teach in the private sector.
For young professionals with limited teaching experience, or soon-to-be graduates looking for their first role, don’t be alarmed; experience in this context doesn’t mean a CV packed with decades spent teaching. If you don’t have that, look to fill the gap in the best way you can.
Can you gain some vital experience in a national training programme such as Teach for America? Could you land an intern role (something private schools are more likely to hand out) and build up 12 months in the classroom? Having some experience working with children will be vital, so maximise this with whatever opportunities you can.
There are many ways in which Private and Public schools differ (read our analysis of the main differences between the two here), one of which is the hiring processes. Private schools are not bound by legislation that limits who they can hire to teach there, allowing them to cast the net wider and hire specialist knowledge.
For you, it means you don’t have to worry too much about the subject of your degree – in fact, it may be a significant advantage. Each private school’s curriculum will differ from the next, and your expert knowledge in a certain field could be exactly what they are looking for.
Don’t worry about having a base knowledge of many subjects. Emphasise the proficiency you have in your degree subject and display how you could bring that knowledge to the school.
At a private school, your input and level of control of what you teach is significantly higher than at public schools. To appeal to a hiring private school, you need to show what innovative ideas you can bring to your field.
Private schools are open to pioneering teaching methods and new ways of thinking, it helps to keep their education at the height of the industry. In the 2009 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS), commissioned by the US Nation Center for Educational Statistics, found that 47% of private school teachers have a great deal of influence over their school curriculum (compared to 22% of public school teachers), and 40% said the same of performance standards (vs 18%).
It makes for a more intellectually challenging experience. If you’re to land your dream role in the private sector, it’s worth emphasising a time you’ve been at the forefront of innovation and change in a different role.
Private schools, particuarly boarding schools, place a greater emphasis on extracurricular activity. Students are encouraged to get involved with after-school activities, and many private schools pride themselves on having a robust set of sports and arts clubs.
Showing enthusiasm for getting involved in some of these extracurricular classes and displaying some previous experience will help put you ahead of the pack. If you’ve previously coached a sports team or can play an instrument to a high level, be sure to place an emphasis on these skills in your CV.
At private schools, teachers are expected to display and instil a love for education in everything they do. On your CV, at the interview stage, and then in your day-to-day role, a private school teacher should display a passion for their subject and the pursuit of educational perfection.
Get in touch with what it is you love about your subject and the wider joys of watching young people grow. Inspiring them to great things and moulding them into exceptional students is expected of you. A deep-rooted passion for teaching will help you thrive in the profession.
Now you know what you need to focus on, it’s time to search to land your dream private school teaching role. Here are four steps to get you on your way.
Having an ever-growing professional network is important in any industry, and teaching is no exception. Teaching is a competitive field, and you’ll need to seize on any advantage to get the role ahead of other candidates. One of those advantages could be a personal contact. Do you know someone who works at the school in question? Have a contact that’s made the shift from public school to private school, or just landed their first role at a private school?
If so, be sure to get in touch and gather all the advice you can on that individual school or about the industry in general. Compiling that information can really boost your employability.
Online job boards will be filled with all the job roles currently available, so regularly check-in to ensure you’re not missing out on your dream role. Dedicated agencies that place candidates in private schools are also worth exploring, as they’ll be able to stay on top of the best roles as they become available.
There are dedicated job boards for private school positions. One example is the careers centre at the National Associate of Independent Schools’ (NAIS). Here at Nord Anglia Education, we also post the latest roles from our global network of private schools on our careers page.
You’ll need to take this thought and hold it at the forefront of your mind throughout your efforts to gain employment as a private school teacher. Be it on your CV, during a conversation with a recruitment agency or during an interview, be sure to stay in touch with why you want a role in the private sector in the first place.
It can help you to find the perfect role. If you understand your personal teaching philosophy and individual strengths, it can help narrow down the search for the perfect school. During an interview you can display how the school in question matches perfectly with your skillset and knowledge.
When it comes to applying for a teaching role at a private school, the process is not all that different from any other position. Still, it helps to be as prepared as possible. There are ways you can ready yourself for potential interviews and also make it more likely you’ll be selected for the interview process.
You’ll notice that private schools have different requirements and priorities depending on what they want from their next hire. They may require skills, a level of qualification, or specific experience. Be sure to study the job specification thoroughly to ensure you have what it takes to fulfil it.
If you do, then tailor your CV and cover letter to that role. Make a point of displaying your proficiency in each of the job’s requirements, referring back to relevant experience that proves it.
This is a vital part of not only nailing a potential interview but also establishing if it’s the right role for you. Due to the nature of the industry, private schools will differ from one another more significantly than those in the public sector. Familiarise yourself with the school’s philosophies, curriculum and principles. Then, you can establish what you can bring to the school and why you’re the perfect match.
A lot of private schools will go through the traditional methods of hiring a new teacher. You’ll need to ensure yours is able to stand out as they read through plenty of CVs. For that, we’d re-emphasise the points made throughout this article. Research the role and the school, then position yourself as the ideal candidate, making sure to focus on your relevant experience and knowledge.
Again, use your network to make sure your CV is exactly right for the industry. Pass onto private school contacts you have or ask your recruitment agency to offer advice on honing it to perfection.
Now you’re all set for a position in the private education sector – all that’s left is to apply. For a challenging, rewarding experience at some of the highest achieving private schools in the world, consider a role with Nord Anglia Education. Head to our careers page for the latest opportunities from across our global network of schools.