Probably the very first decision that most fresh grads of education courses have to make is whether they should teach at a private or public school. Even experienced teachers, out of curiosity or the simple longing to see where the grass is greener, also consider shifting to their school’s counterpart. Here’s a list of important factors to consider (besides salary) when choosing between the two:
1. School Culture
It is crucial that a teacher chooses a school with a mission and vision aligned with their own personal goals and principles, since this is the assumption that most parents make when choosing which school to enroll their kids in. More often than not, private schools integrate their religious orientation into their curriculum, and it may even be a part of their school’s general routines (prayer time, attending mass or Friday service, etc.). Public schools are non-sectarian, which gives teacher applicants more freedom to apply regardless of religious affiliations or practice. Always bear in mind, however, that there are work environments which will prove to be more nurturing for you than others
2. Administrative Support
Support from the school principal and administrators leads to the assurance of steady growth and development on the teacher’s part, especially if it’s your first time teaching. The way any leader supports their member’s ideas and initiatives greatly affects the way they become leaders themselves. Be careful not to settle for a position wherein you are not heard or where your ideas are always set aside. Unfortunately, because leadership is seasonal in any school and organization, there’s really no sure way of telling how effective the school structure works except by examining the school’s past and current achievements as well as by asking the current faculty about the school’s climate and dynamics.
3. Teacher Autonomy and Collaboration
In relation to administrative support, allowance for teacher autonomy (otherwise known as the professional independence of a teacher) is an equally important factor to consider when applying to any school. In an article by teacher leadership strategist Kim Farris-Berg titled There’s No “I” in Teacher Autonomy, she shares how teachers benefit from high levels of satisfaction as a result of working in an environment where they can collaborate freely with their co-teachers in determining what works best for the students. There are schools where it’s every teacher for themselves and others wherein everybody helps each other out as much as possible.
While it’s a more common notion that private schools are well-equipped and superior in terms of facilities, public schools in the Philippines have also been gradually catching up in terms of equipping classrooms with LCD projectors, better lighting and ventilation, as well as smart boards, among other basic necessities. With the K-12 curriculum gearing towards tech-integrated learning, this is definitely one thing to consider when choosing where to grow as a 21st-century educator.
Teachers from private and public schools are compensated with different benefits, and each of these benefits can contribute to the quality of your performance and overall satisfaction later on. Most private schools cannot afford the salary that government employees receive (P19, 500 as basic pay per month) which results in most teachers shifting to teach in public schools after 2 or 3 years of experience. Then again, the expectations for public school teachers also tend to be more taxing and at times even unpredictable depending on the school’s calendar.
5. Class Size
All teachers know how a single student can influence the overall classroom culture, for better or for worse. Unless you are confident about handling at least 40 students per class, it might not be the wisest decision to teach at public schools, which on average have 60 students at most in each section. Not to say that all private schools have more contained student-teacher ratios, but because most strive to meet various International standards as regards to maintaining the quality of instruction, this is done to ensure the effectivity of differentiated or customized learning strategies.
For more similar articles to help you in deciding which school environment fits you best, you can check Edukasyon.ph. to access free resources that can help you in your search.