1. Private school teachers typically make less than public school teachers. For real. Even though students pay, this tuition has to supply everything from furniture to rent for the building etc. Sometimes this means the teachers are less qualified and/or don't have a teaching degree. But, in my experience, most of the teachers I have worked with in private school have been required to be just as qualified as public school teachers.
2. We usually have smaller classes. Mine range from 15-20 students. I get to do things because of smaller class sizes that I couldn't always do in a public school.
3. I get to "justify" my expenses. I'm not given a budget, and I have to argue/cajole/justify what I want. . .But, I get excellent work out of my students. . .So, typically I get to spend what I ask.
4. Some private schools supply their students with all necessary materials (including pencils and paper). Mine does this. But, as a teacher, you often run out before you are able to re-order. So, that means that YOU end up purchasing notebook paper and pencils for wealthy private school kids. Also, there are no wall-mounted pencils sharpeners in my school, and there is no place on order forms for an electric pencil sharpener. A lot of teachers have to buy their own. I bullied for mine.
5. We have "interesting" populations. Parents are willing to pay for their child's elementary/middle/high school education for several reasons:
1) Their child is "different" in some way that they feel a smaller class/school can aid (this could be a severe allergy, giftedness, and/or some other sort of defined different ability).
2) Parents want to think their child is "different," "special" or "misunderstood" (this usually means the parent is dodging some kind of psychological testing that would be required on the public school level and/or they are in denial about who their kid really is).
3) the local public schools are dangerous and/or not challenging enough (I've NEVER worked in an area where I felt that the public schools couldn't provide exactly what the private school provides).
4) the parents are snobs and don't want their kids in school with public school riff-raff (I hope you note my sarcasm).
6. We offer education as part of our customer service package. Parents pay a lot of money for their kids to attend private school. They expect results. Results are expected even when parents aren't reinforcing education at home and/or helping with homework (I mean, hey, that is what they are paying us for right?). Parents are our customers, and we need to keep our customers happy to keep enrollment up. So, sometimes (often) I find myself in a moral dilemma about how best to deal with a situation that might make a parent profoundly unhappy (like hearing their kid is exhibiting behaviors that lead other teachers, the counselor, and myself to believe that psychological testing might be best, because I've never encountered a private school parent who believed what they heard in this instance. Most often, they remove their child and/or insist that nothing changes). If no kids attend, there is no school. In my opinion, this can really lead to some murky ethical conclusions. . .
7. We deal with FAR less behavior problems. Soo many sweet kids from really loving homes. Seriously. Wow. Classroom management is a breeze. But, when you do have an issue, watch-out! The student is rarely at fault, because remember, the parents are our customers.
8. Parties!! Is it the 5oth day of school? Awesome! Let's have a party!! Sometimes this is fun, sometimes it grows old. Mostly, it rules.
9. Holidays! Ramadan, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Easter, Passover, Halloween, Thanksgiving. Oh yeah, we get to CELEBRATE them all. Which, I love!
10. Holiday Gifts. Wow. Wow. Wow. We get AMAZING gifts from the parents at holiday time. I get so many restaurant gift certificates that I usually re-gift them to my friends!
And even though it changes everyday, here is (time-wise) a typical daily schedule for me (wherever you see "overlaps with" that means I am teaching 2 classes at the same time in the same room):
8:00-8:53 High School Art (2 students)
8:20-8:50 Pre-K 4 year old art (18 students and they usually leave 5-10 minutes late)
9:00-10:00 3rd grade art (16 students)
10:06-10:59 8th grade art (18 students)
11:00-11:55 High School Art (4 students)
11:25-11:55 Kindergarten Art (18 students)
11:55-12:10 Planning (Yup, 15 minutes -providing no one is late/early)
12:10-12:55 5th grade Art (2 classes simultaneously in a room designed for 20: 36 students)
12:55-1:20 Planning (Yup, 25 minutes -providing no one is late/early)
1:20-1:50 2nd grade Art (12 students)
1:26-2:19 Advanced High School Art (2 students)
2:23-3:15 High School Art (4 students)
2:25-3:10 6th grade Art (2 classes simultaneously in a room designed for 20: 36 students)
There isn't much room for peeing and/or eating. I stay a lot of afternoons, and work every second of the day. I'm sure you can relate!
What is my grading like? Similar to yours! But, I do have to leave a lot more personable comments because of the customer service/private school thing. These comments need to be specific to the child and reflect his/her classroom experience specifically and should be 3-4 sentences in length. For instance, this past grading period (which is every 4 1/2 weeks in my school 'cause parents like that) I had 17 pages of handwritten notes for students in grades Pre-K through 6th, and I had to write a comment for every student I teach in 7th-12th grade (48 students). That is a lot of writing to do on a near-monthly basis!!
What is your daily structure like?