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Private School vs. Public School Employment

Private School vs. Public School Employment

There are plenty of employment options to explore once you have a Bachelor of Education degree in hand. The skill set can be applied to organizations seeking to build their capacity of staff, and graduates have the flexibility to work within both public and private education systems. Each path comes with its unique set of considerations, ranging from seniority and pay scale to career growth, job security, teacher pension plans, and opportunities for professional development. 

Seniority and Pay Scale

In the realm of public schools, seniority often plays a significant role in employment benefits and job security. Teachers accrue seniority based on years of service, and this can translate into advantages such as preferred school placements and a strong network of colleagues for a learning community. On the flip side, private schools may operate on a more flexible pay scale, with compensation sometimes reflecting the school's budget and individual negotiations. 

Career Growth

Public schools typically offer a structured career advancement path, supporting teachers to pursue leadership in resource and special education, as department heads, or administration roles. The hierarchical structure in public education provides a clear trajectory for career growth. In contrast, private schools may be more limited in the number of roles available due to the organizational structure, and career progression may depend more on individual initiative and the specific needs of the institution. 

Job Security

Job security is a significant concern for educators. Public schools, with their tenure system, typically offer a high degree of job security. Once a teacher has worked within a public board for a number of years, they have a level of certainty in their employment. This tenure acknowledges the value of their knowledge and expertise, often leading to involvement in succession planning and mentoring less experienced staff. Private schools, while offering the benefits of a close knit community, contend with the possibility of enrolment fluctuations and employment viability. However, this uncertainty is less of an issue with more established schools, as teachers often spend their entire careers working at one school.

Teacher Pension Plan Contributions

Both public and private school employment frequently includes participation in the Teachers’ Pension Plan. These plans, designed to provide financial security in retirement, involve both employer and employee contributions. The specifics may vary from one private school to the next but the inclusion of a pension plan is a significant draw for many educators. Private schools may offer alternative retirement benefits that differ from the standardized pension plan structure in the public sector but are equally as competitive.

Professional Development Opportunities

Both private and public schools prioritize professional development for teachers, recognizing the importance of continuous growth. Mandatory training for staff in public schools supported by government funding initiatives ensures that educators are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to address the current needs of students and the education system as a whole. Private schools, while also valuing ongoing teacher growth, may tailor professional development opportunities based on the school's unique mission, vision, and goals.

The choice between private and public school employment in the education sector involves a careful consideration of multiple factors. Public schools often offer structured career paths, job security and pension plans. On the other hand, private schools provide flexibility in pay negotiations, career growth based on individual initiative,  and unique professional development opportunities aligned with the school's vision.

Ultimately, the decision hinges on personal priorities, career goals, and the educational environment that resonates most with an individual educator. Both public and private school sectors offer diverse opportunities for teachers to make a lasting impact on the lives of students.

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Meet the author:

Nina Jaiswal, an Educational Consultant and former Superintendent of Education, offers valuable insights for educators, both experienced and new. As an expert witness in school liability, discipline matters, compliance, and policy, her perspective is essential for understanding the complexities of education. In addition to consultancy, Nina dedicates her expertise to coaching staff at all levels, focusing on career growth, promotion preparation, leadership development, and competency strengthening in educational matters.

With over 13 years on the Accreditation Review Panel for the Ontario College of Teachers and a history of teaching at the University of Toronto and York University, Nina's voice is grounded in extensive experience. She has significantly contributed to professional learning at the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers’ Association (OPSOA) and served as a coach for the Ontario Principals' Council. Recognized for impactful partnerships with community agencies and families, Nina is a driving force behind fostering public confidence and elevating student achievement.  

Nina's writing is an indispensable resource for anyone eager to delve into the dynamic world of education.