Religious School Teaching
One of the options available to new teachers is the opportunity to teach at a religious school. These types of schools are usually partially sponsored by a church or parish, and students may attend free of charge or be charged a tuition fee.
Religious schools operate much like private schools. They have a private board of directors who oversee the school's operations and the school has much the same management structure as a private school. In general though a religious school charges much less for tuition, instead relying on the generosity of its patrons to fund much of the operating costs.
There are a few points you should consider before you approach a religious school for a position. Consider the following before you apply:
The curriculum taught in a religious school can vary a fair amount from that taught in a public or even private school. How much it varies depends on the amount of funding the school receives from the government. The more funding received, the more the school has to follow a standard, government-imposed curriculum.
When you are interviewing at a religious school it is important that you understand the school's approach to creationism vs. evolution. Some schools will not teach evolution because they feel that it conflicts with their religious beliefs. While you don't have to change your beliefs to fit with the school's, it is vital that you understand their approach and adhere to it when teaching.
When you interview for a position at a religious school you will likely be asked a few questions about your religious beliefs. While you will not be responsible for teaching religion to the students the board will want to ensure that you are at least a supporter of whichever religion they follow at the school. This means that if you are interviewing at a Catholic school you'll have a much better chance of landing the position if you are a practicing Catholic, and less of a chance of getting the job if your lifestyle conflicts with their beliefs.
Rules and Regulations
In general religious schools are stricter when it comes to misbehavior on behalf of their students, which is why kids at these types of schools tend to have less behaviour problems than their public counterparts. Discuss with your interviewer what types of deterrents are in place for students who act out or break the rules, or see if you can find out before you interview. Understanding the school's rules towards students can help you decide if your teaching style can be aligned with their regulations.
The one downside to teaching at a religious school is that the salary tends to be lower than private school teachers, as well as public school teachers on occasion. This is because religious schools have the tightest budgets, since they try to keep their tuition fees low so that anyone can attend. However, every school is different and obviously these schools try to offer a competitive package to entice new teachers to come on board. If you find that the salary is sub-par, ask about other benefits such as subsidized housing, car allowance, etc. It may just be that the benefits make the job more attractive than others.
In the end you will have to gather all the necessary information to decide whether religious school teaching is right for you. For many teachers a career in this environment can make for many years of great fun and interaction with keen and engaged students.
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