Tips for Teaching at a Public School vs. a Private School [Episode 66]


Click below to hear tips for teaching at a public school or private school:


Are you unsure if you want to teach in a public school or a private school next year? In my experience, there are definitely differences between the two and pros and cons to both and finding which school is the best fit for you is so important. So today, I am sharing tips that I have learned from my experience in both public and private schools to help you wherever you end up next year.

I want to help you THRIVE and not just survive in whatever school you teach at so I am sharing my best advice for teaching at private schools and public schools. In this episode, I am giving you 10 tips for teaching in a private school, 10 quick tips for teaching in a public school, and how these tips helped me while teaching at different schools.

No matter where you end up teaching next year, I truly believe the most important thing about your happiness and job satisfaction is the support you receive. I hope you find a school that you have good support from your admin, parents, and coworkers and that fits well with your current season of life!

Be sure to follow the Secondary Science Simplified podcast on your favorite podcast player! We have some amazing episodes coming up that you do not want to miss!

Topics Discussed About Private Schools vs. Public Schools:

  • My 10 best tips for teaching in a private school
  • 10 tips to help you thrive and not just survive when teaching in a public school
  • Examples of how I implemented these tips during my time in public and private schools

Resources Mentioned:

Related Episodes and Blog Posts:

Connect with Rebecca:

More about Secondary Science Simplified: 

Secondary Science Simplified is a podcast specifically for high school science teachers that will help you to engage your students AND simplify your life as a secondary science educator. Each week Rebecca, from It’s Not Rocket Science, and her guests will share practical and easy-to-implement strategies for decreasing your workload so that you can stop working overtime and start focusing your energy doing what you love – actually teaching!

Teaching doesn’t have to be rocket science, and you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to simplify your secondary science teaching life so that you can enjoy your life outside of school even more. Head to itsnotrocketscienceclassroom.com/challenge to grab your FREE Classroom Reset Challenge.

You’re listening to episode number 66 of the secondary science simplified podcast. Last week in Episode 65, I shared with you 10 questions I considered when I was moving and thus knew I was gonna be changing schools and jobs. And like I previously told you, I ended up switching from a large public school to a tiny private school, and the experiences could not have been more different. And now I’m so grateful that I had these really different experiences because it’s helped me to connect with a variety of experiences that y’all have. And also, I am currently in a season of life were many of my former students are now graduating college and becoming teachers. And they’re interviewing for their first jobs. And I love when they call me and we have the chance to kind of talk through pros and cons. As they make decisions on where they want to end up. I found in my conversations with them that I have a decent amount of tips to share, depending on if they’re choosing between a public school or a private one, because I feel like my tips are a little bit different depending on the situation. And so in today’s episode, I’m going to share those tips with you. I’m going to start with 10 quick tips for teaching in a private school and kind of my best advice if that’s something you’re going to be doing. And then I’m going to follow that was 10 quick tips for teaching in a public school. I hope that you’ll find that these help you thrive and not just survive. And no matter where you end up teaching next year, and if you’re not sure yet, maybe listening to these tips will help you as you’re kind of weighing out your options. So are you ready to hear my best advice? Let’s get to it. This is secondary science simplified a podcast for secondary science teachers who want to engage their students and simplify their lives. I’m Rebecca joiner from it’s not rocket science. As a high school science teacher turned curriculum writer, I am passionate about helping other science teachers love their job, serve their students, and do it all and only 40 hours a week. Are you ready to rock the time you spend in your classroom and actually have a life outside of it? You are in the right place teacher friend. Let’s get to today’s episode.

Okay, so let’s start with teaching tips at a private school. I really hope these are helpful for teachers who are new to private school, whether you’re coming from a public school background, or just fresh out of college and your teacher certification program. I also think these might encourage you if you have been teaching in a private school for a while, but still feel like you have a lot of challenges. Hopefully these 10 tips will help you so first, my best advice is to have consistent parent communication. You know, that can be a biweekly newsletter, a Class A website or blog that you update a class Instagram, something like that. I mentioned last week, I was shocked by the difference in the amount of parent interaction and communication. When I switch from my public school to my private school, I was just amazed at how much time I was spending in my week talking to parents rather than just working directly with students. But what I learned about these private school parents is that, you know, they’re investing a lot of money and resources for their child’s education. And a lot of them have made a lot of sacrifices to send their students to the school. And so they want to be aware they want to be connected with everything that’s going on. And I also learned that they were okay with me challenging their students. Although, you know, some were not very happy at first that their students received their first non A grades with me. But they were fine with that as long as they were up to date on my expectations and my due dates. And so I found that having a class website, and then sending out a weekly like E newsletter just to all my email addresses that I had. Or you can also do it like in your learning management system. If you have a way to send out like a broadcast to everyone in a class. I found that doing that was so helpful, and I kept it so basic. I cannot even show you. I’ve had some teachers who took my secondary science simplified, virtual professional development course. I’ve had some of them asked to see my old class website. And I’m like, Y’all, I cannot show it to you. It’s embarrassing how basic it is. It’s truly so simple. I just spent five minutes at the end of every day, typing up a bulleted list of what our class agenda was like basically typing what was on our whiteboard onto the website and what we did. And then you know, I would link you know, the lecture video on youtube if someone had missed that. And I listed any important due dates or anything like that. But it was so helpful for parents and students to have that to reference when they were absent. And it kind of gave me the ability and the permission to have a no excuses policy with absent students. We had so many pre arranged absences. I felt like at a small school, every student plays three sports and is in the play, you know, and as junior leadership like I mean, it was crazy how many prearranged absences they had, and this kind of made it so that if it was a prearranged absence for absence for like a school event. There were no No excuses, like you have to do XYZ. And so that was really, really helpful. Especially also too, because I do pockets as my curriculum organization strategy, which I talked all about in episode 60, if you missed that, and so that meant that like, if they were going to be absent, they already had all the handouts they needed. So again, I was able to kind of do no excuses for that, obviously, sickness and stuff is different. But that was really helpful. And then for my weekly, like, newsletter, I kept it so simple. I just basically said, Hey, here’s some fun things we’re learning about right now like or things you could ask your students about that we’re doing. If I had a video from class, you know, like, when we did bottle rockets in physical science, I would upload that. And then I will just do a bulleted list of upcoming major due dates. And I know that they can see those in the gradebook, but for some reason, they just appreciated this so much more. So I highly recommend having some sort of consistent parent communication system, you can use your mind one on one, whatever works best for you. My second tip for private school teachers, is be organized. Like I mentioned, parents want to know what’s going on. And they want to know weeks in advance, like they want all the information. And so this required so much organization, which for me worked out well, because organization is kind of my love language. And again, they loved the packets that I had, which go back to Episode 60, if you missed it, if you want to hear about that, because I was able to take that packet, and I could put in all the due dates for the entire unit, the first day of the unit. And then I could be so consistent with my students in terms of the standards, I was setting. And they just really, really appreciated that. Again, that’s kind of leads into my third tip, which is put in all due dates for the unit at the beginning of the unit, if you can, if you’re batch lesson planning and not just kind of going day by day, you can kind of set your calendar this way. And then if you need to end up collecting something later, because things go longer than you think that’s fine. But I think they really appreciated seeing things from the very beginning and kind of knowing what was to come, I had a lot of parents that really help their students, you know, get through some of these hard classes. And so they wanted the plan. And so this was really great for them. The fourth tip I’ll give you, and again, all these are connected, you’re like, are we gonna talk about anything but parents, maybe we’ll see. But fourth, I’m not done yet, is you need to send positive email updates once a week. I actually think this is great whether you teach at public or private school, but I think especially with private school, because you’re actually an app, parents respond. But I think it’s such a game changer. When a parent receives a positive correspondence from a teacher. I feel like all I ever did was talk to parents when something bad was happening. And it’s a bummer, it’s a bummer for me, and it’s a bummer for them. And I think these don’t have to be long at all, it can be so quick. Honestly, I did like three sentences, I would just say Hi, I’m Rebecca Joyner, your teacher, your son’s biology teacher, I just want to let you know that he did XYZ this week. You know, I’m so grateful. He’s in my class. Have a great weekend, Rebecca Joyner, and I would just kind of sign off there. Again, it doesn’t need to be like a sucking up situation. But just kind of building a positive relationship goes a long way. And then if you do have a challenge with that student down the road, the parent knows that you really care about the student. And it’s not just, you know, they’re constantly bad behavior, like you’ve shown that you see the positive in them too. And I just set a timer for 10 minutes, I did this on Friday afternoons, before I left for the weekend, I would set a 10 minute timer. And I would email as many parents as I could during that time. And then the next Friday, I would kind of pick up on my roster with like the next parent on the list. And then you keep working through it until I got through all and then I cycled back. It it’s really helped my relationships with parents, but also a students like I love when a student want to walk in on a Monday morning and be like Miss joiner, because you email my parent and said that nice thing about me, they get my phone back this weekend. And they were like so tickled by it. So I really encourage you to do that. My fifth tip would be just to really push your students. I will say and again, this is just my personal experience. I know that every school is so different. But when I was in my public school teaching job, I had students that were coming in without their basic needs met, like I had to check in and make sure that they were fed. And I had some that are on like a third grade reading level because they just kept getting passed along. You could literally go into this grade system and see their grades every year and see that they had failed classes, but somehow still made it to the next year of science and you’re like what? So I had, there were a lot of things going on that I just couldn’t predict. And that, you know, took attention and needed that needed my care and attention more than just teaching. And I felt like when I was at private school, those kinds of distractions for students and big things going on for students just weren’t as much. I also felt like we had less interruptions for like assemblies and standardized testing and all that and so I was able to to push them further than I felt like I could add the public school. You know, I taught CPE which is college prep where I live and I taught Honors Biology at both schools and the CPE level at My public school was like the most it was not college prep, that’s just what they call it. It was like, What’s the most basic way you could teach this for them to pass the class and pass the EOC at the end of the year. Whereas I felt like the CPE level at the private school was actually like a college prep, like what’s the basics of biology, you need to feel prepared going into college where you might take biology again, and then honors, at my private school really felt like a stepping stone of preparing students for AP Bio, it really felt like, I’m going to push them and give them a really good foundations that they’ll be ready to take AP in a year or two. And so if you’re able, really go for it with your students, I think that’s one of the benefits you can have at a private school. And so, you know, I’m not saying don’t set high standards at public school, I’m just saying, I found that the standards that I could set were really different because the population that I had was so different. And so that’s something to consider. Okay, sixth tip for private school, be entirely objective and fair with your grading. And obviously, every teacher should do this, no matter where you teach. But I just found in my private school students were so competitive of their grades and so argumentative, they all could have been lawyers, when I would return graded work, they would like sit next to each other and see where I took partial credit off. And it had to be the same. And so because of this, I graded all of like my open ended assessments, like lab reports, you know, open response questions on tests, whatever, I did them one section at a time, like I would only do the hypotheses for the lab report. And then I would look at their, you know, materials listen, and the procedures and the graph, whatever or for a test, I would do all of number 13 for every student, and then I would move on to all number 14. And this made it so much easier to be really consistent with my partial credit than the feedback I was writing. Because they were going to put them next to each other and make sure that I was consistent. And so this really was good. For me though, it really improved my objectivity. Because especially when you’re doing batch grading tests like that, and you lose track of who you’re grading. So it’s not like you’re giving anyone a benefit of the doubt, because you’re just, you know, batch grading, you’re not really thinking about who’s it is, it just helped me be a lot more fair. And I found that it eliminated some of that combativeness the day of going over tests. So I highly encourage being as objective as possible, no matter where you teach, but especially if you’re teaching at a private school, the seventh tip I’ll give you is go to any and all extracurricular events. Again, I think this is important in every school. But I think especially at a smaller school, whether it’s a smaller public or smaller private, this is important because with a smaller school and a smaller population of students and parents, they’re really going to notice your presence at that volleyball game at that soccer match at that theater production. You know, when I taught at a really large public school, I can go to a football game, and like, barely see anyone I knew because there’d be so many people there. But I felt like when I taught at a smaller private school, like you just really got to know families. And your face was really seen at those places. It helped me really build great relationships with parents, but also students. And it gave me a lot of rapport in the classroom as well, because they saw that I was committed to them outside of my classroom, but also inside. And so I really encourage that. Number eight, this is so important for any school, but especially private, because you’re gonna be tempted y’all is Do not give your personal contact number to parents, you know, as much as a relationship with parents is important, you have to set boundaries. And I think because you’re gonna have more FaceTime at a private school with parents, it just becomes way more conversational. And, you know, it makes it a lot harder to be aware of when your job should officially end when you get home, because I think they more I expect you to be able to respond to any communication within the hour. And that’s just not realistic or healthy. But because you have these deeper relationships with them, that’s kind of what happens. And so because of this, I am very careful that parents do not have my personal phone number or my personal email. And so, you know, it is challenging to only keep up with parents via email, someone to talk on the phone. And then if you’re not getting your personal, that means you have to be in your classroom talking on the phone, which is hard to do. But it’s so much healthier. If you’re using your cell phone to contact parents, they’ll just forever have your number. And you will be shocked when they start texting or calling you at all hours of the day. I remember one Sunday I was grocery shopping. And I had an answer, or I had a phone call from an unknown number. But at the time, we were going through the adoption process. So I was answering every phone call I got because I didn’t know who it was going to be or what was going to be about. And it was a parent who had pulled my number out of our church directory system, and was calling me with a question about a project that was due that Tuesday in my class. And I My mind was just blown and I could not get her off the phone like it was a challenge. And so I know many teachers at my school at least we’re giving out their personal numbers, just to make it easier, but I really think that creating that boundary is a healthy one. And you know, also now you can get a Google phone number which is for free, and have that be your number that you give Parents and then they can call you from that number and then you can get it on your cell phone, but it’s not your actual cell phone number. So that’s something you can look into if you really want that. But I will say I did give my AP Biology students my phone number, and with really strict guidelines in it, and they did pretty well, but there were a couple times I regretted it. So that’s just something to get through get through. I did do that phone number because I went on maternity leave with our son who we adopted while I was teaching AP Bio, and they were given a sub that knew nothing about science. So I’ve tried to be available for them. But I kind of regretted that. So I really recommend not doing that. Alright, last few things for private school. Number nine daily tutoring opportunities, if you can, I cannot tell you how much respect I was able to gain from students and parents that they saw that I had a time every single day that was blocked out just for them. And just for tutoring, so many of these parents are paying for private tutors. And so for them to have access to the teacher at a school that they’re already paying for who’s willing to tutor their kids daily was a game changer. They loved it. And so I blocked off three to 330 every single day, devouring it three, and then I had till 330. And this was actually a school wide policy. And I don’t know how like, really enforced it was but I will say I was glad it was a school policy because it got me doing it. And then I saw the benefit. And I would do it forever and ever. Now because it was such a game changer. I never made plans. I never had meetings or appointments during that time. If we had a faculty meeting, it wouldn’t start till after that time. And then sports practices weren’t allowed to start until after that time as well. And which is honestly good too. Because like no sport practice actually starts one minute after the bell rings, like they let kids get changed, get some food, etc. So there’s always that little buffer period, and they could come to tutoring. And I loved it because any time anyone was having trouble, I had this immediate time, like come see me today, I will be here today, I’ll be here tomorrow, like, there was no coordinating. Because like we just knew that this is when I was going to be available. And it was so helpful. I also kept a record of who came every day. So after tutoring, I had a sheet and I would write down who was there. And this was really nice, because oftentimes the parent will be like, Well, I’ve sent them to tutoring every single day. And I’m like, well, they only came Tuesday or, you know, they said they were there yesterday. And I’m like, well, they stayed for five minutes and left. That was another thing if a student just bumped in and asked me one question and then left, I wrote that down so that if a parent circled back with me, I had that information. So I really recommend that I also find that, again, find the time that works best for you. For me, I like to doing this in the afternoon at the end of the day. And then I was able to protect my mornings and my planning period and my lunch period, because those were able to be assigned to other tasks because I knew tutoring was after school. And so I really encouraged that. And last thing for private school teachers, if you’re at a Christian school, specifically, really pour into your students spiritually, you know, that was probably the sweetest and most life giving part of teaching at a private school was being able to have that spiritual connection with my students. And it really transformed my classroom culture, and the relationships, again, that I had with their parents and with my co workers. And it was really, it really blessed me in my faith. And I grew a ton while I was there, because we share those experiences. And I was actually talking to a couple of the girls that I taught while I was, you know, years ago, who we were talking about how they said that it was so impactful for them to see me going through hard things, while I was their teacher and sharing about them. And seeing how my faith still held through those hard seasons, I was really open. And again, it was because I taught a Bible class. And you know, I did this mentorship program, and I was a young life leader. So I had, you know, I had a Bible study every week at my house for any high school girls were invited. And, you know, I opened myself up personally to them as I shared my spiritual walk. And as I was going through hard times, and I think it really, it changed things. I like to hear about the lasting impact, it looks like it had on some of these girls who really saw someone really opened up about their struggles in life for the first time, but then also how God carried them through it. So I really encourage that, like if you’re at a Christian school, like don’t hide or shy away from sharing your faith. Obviously, that’s not the same if you’re at a public school. So let’s transition to there now. Now I’ve got my 10 tips for teaching at a public school. And these are again, from my own experience there. Some of the private school tips may translate into your public school experience. And vice versa, just depending on what your schools look like. But I will say first thing from public school is I would say find your team. Anyone who’s ever spent any time in the public school system knows that there are oftentimes crazy and just laughable things that go down and these things can be so draining, but they can also be really memorable and funny if you have your like team of people that you sit through faculty meetings with and excessive peds and, you know you text each other when you get those outrageous emails when someone replies all to the 180 person staff email when it should have just been an individual reply. You know, you got to have that group text that you screenshot and send out like and make the crazy and weird moments So much more enjoyable. I have so many stories I can share about things that happened that I’m just like, how did that happen? And I’m not going to do that for the privacy of people involved. But I’m so grateful that I had teacher friends and co workers. You know, I interviewed a high school counselor back at the end of last year. And it was my dear friend Lauren. And I think it was episode 53. Yeah, Episode 53. And I’m just so grateful I had her and so many other, you know, teacher friends during that time as I walked through it, so find your team. My second thing I’ll say kind of the opposite of this is avoid the teacher work room, or whoever’s classroom, all the negative teachers are gathering to eat lunch in, okay, so we didn’t really have a worker and that teachers hung out in it was more just like there was a couch there if you’re waiting for your copies to be made. So people didn’t really hang there. But there was a certain classroom that all the teachers gathered to eat lunch in on my hall, and are sorted out eating, they’re just trying to connect with others and things like that. But then I found that it kind of just became this breeding ground of complaints and negativity. And I feel like there’s a fine line between, you know, making light and laughing at things that are hard to, you know, laugh through it versus like, Okay, I actually feel really drained by this. And I started to realize that I was leaving lunch because I, the way my schedule worked was I had three class periods, then lunch, and then one more class period, I found I was getting into fourth period. And I was like, I am so tired by this day, but also drained by the conversations I just had at lunch. And so I at that point, I stopped eating lunch with them, I just ate lunch in my classroom. And then on Fridays, I eat with them just to like have one connection point. So try to avoid where the negative people are gathering. Okay, my third tip specific to public school is bond with your custodian or your facilities manager, whatever their title is, y’all I’m not kidding. When I say that your relationship with the custodian at your school may be more important than your relationship with your boss, whoever the head principal is, okay? It is so important. I always made sure that I was always chatting with them, because I was staying late, you know, coming early. So they were there. When they’re cleaning out trash cans, or sweeping the hallways, I always said, Hey, I tried to learn their kids names, I like to learn what they like to do in their free time. You know, if I went to Chick fil A before school, I knew that Rick love Chick fil A biscuit, I would grab another one, and I’d throw it on his desk. And again, it wasn’t about like trying to manipulate them, it was just trying to see them. And I feel like that is, you know, a part of the faculty that often isn’t seen. And I wanted to see them. And there are people I saw every day because they’re coming in your classroom multiple times a day to like, you know, do different things. And they’re in the hall and our school, my public school was immaculate, like they were doing the most to keep it so clean. And I wanted them to know, I appreciated it. But I will say this too, like, I learned that I was in a unique situation, building this relationship with my custodian. And a lot of people weren’t doing that. And so I did see over time, the benefits, like if something came up, like if someone threw up in my room, or if I found some dissection specimens that were unlabeled, and I had no clue what the expiration date was on them, the custodian would come clean my room first, or come help me out and figure out the solution to this. And I’ll never forget, at the end of the year, when you have like your, you know, your close out checklist before you’re allowed to leave for the summer, our custodian always came and did mine first. Like he always came and checked in with me, and I’m just so grateful for that. For like, again, when we would do dissections, and I had these giant biological waste containers full of frogs, or fetal pigs, like they were heavy, he would come help me remove them. And I’m just so grateful to like, have had that relationship with Him. And so see those people build those relationships with them. And in turn, you may get some extra support and who doesn’t love extra support, you know, but speaking of, you know, your custodian, don’t just bond your custodian you do you need to have some sort of relationship with your admin. And so my fourth tip is have some sort of daily, you know, touch point with your administration, I really feel like your admin and your janitor, or your custodian are your two biggest allies at the school, especially at a public school. And so the more you can kind of get to know your admin, and the more they learn the type of person you are and the type of teacher you are, the more likely you will be able to count on them to defend your character when you have a crazy parent who kind of busts through the front office and gets to the security guard and tries to come at you or, you know, if you’re, you want to be chosen to be considered for like a new class, like they’re gonna think of you because you have that FaceTime with them. And it’s just nice that every time your admin sees you, they don’t just assume that you’re coming because you need something. If you actually just bop your head and and say, hey, you know, it doesn’t if you’re at a school where you have a lot of admin, like we had a vice principal per grade, plus our obviously our Head of School Principal, I wasn’t very close with the freshman Vice Principal, even though I taught mainly freshman courses at that school. I was really close to the junior the junior level 11th grade admin because his office is right next to copier. And I had hauled duty outside of his office. And so whenever I do a haul duty or whenever I was making copies, I made sure to bump my head in and say, Hey, and we had a great relationship. And even though he wasn’t my direct supervisor, it’s still really helped me and it supported me. And I’m just a firm believer in having real relationships with people, and then it makes a difference. So if you kind of build that ground, too, of like, I care about you, and I’m not just gonna pop in here, when I need stuff that makes a difference in the long term. Okay, tip number five, hide out during your planning periods, you can actually get stuff done. Okay, I have an entire podcast episode about this episode 62, about how to have a productive planning period. But I’m not kidding. Like, hide, you know, turn off the lights, lock the door, find yourself in a corner, it’s so easy to get distracted. And especially if you’re at a big school with a lot of Chatty people who also have a 90 minute planning period like you do, they’re gonna want to bop in and sit on the corner of your desk and chat. And it’s gonna be really hard to get your stuff done. So I really recommend hiding during your planning period, my friend Jamie, who I’ve mentioned before, again, I just love her so much. I interviewed her back in episode 19. It’s like the very beginning of the podcast. But she is the one who taught me like how to angle my desk, so you couldn’t see it through the window in the door, and then keep my lights off and get my grading done. So I can hide out and get stuff done. So I definitely recommend that. Tip number six would be spend one afternoon a week touching base with parents and log it. Okay, I have a parent communication log, I’ll link in the show notes. But I found it so difficult and frustrating when I worked in the public school to keep parents in the loops on their kids, because I couldn’t get in touch with them. Like I had parents who you know, they don’t have a phone number, or they don’t listen, email or whatever. And it’s just so hard or, you know, you call every number that’s in the system. And they’re disconnected or the number goes to a restaurant that they work in, not their home. And so then you’re talking to the hostess seeing if this like parent works there. So you can talk to I mean, it’s complicated. And so I found that just saying like, okay, Thursday afternoons are my afternoon where I’ll check in with individual parents as I need. And then I had an Excel spreadsheet, which is now a Google sheet that again, I’ll link in the show notes. I talked to the date, the name of the student, the contact info, I used like, what number did I call, what email did I reach out to? And kind of the results like no answer disconnected, discussed this and said this. And then this was so nice to have as evidence for admin, especially as we got towards the students that were really struggling to be like, here’s where I’ve tried and reached out to these parents and it hasn’t worked. So even if you’re not actually getting in touch with them, even though that’s of course the goal, just still try and log it have a record of it. Okay, tip number seven is to offer weekly tutoring. So I know I sent in private school to offer daily tutoring. And I think if you’re able, at a public school, do it, but if not do weekly. You know, I found that I couldn’t do the daily tutoring at my public school because we had so many meetings and professional developments. And so many kids rode the bus too. So it wasn’t, it was harder to get in touch with them. But having some sort of weekly tutoring is really, really helpful. And just being able to point your students to this, like knowing that, you know, I’m going to be here this day. Our school was really blessed in the sense that we had a grant for a tutoring bus on Monday afternoons. And so students that rode the bus can stay for tutoring in any class, and they could still get a bus ride home. And that was a game changer. And so I always stayed Monday afternoons for tutoring. And it could be for any student. But if obviously, that’s not the case, because that’s a really specific situation. You can pick like one lunch period one morning in one afternoon, and those be the times are always available for students. And so that way, whether they ride the bus or not, or you know, Mom drops them off in the morning, but dad picks them up late afternoon, like they have options, and put that on your little office hours or whatever on your door or on your whiteboard. So they know and protect that time. So that way, you know like, Okay, this morning, I’m going to be here this like maybe it’s Monday mornings, Wednesdays lunch period, Friday afternoon or something more, who wants to say on a Friday afternoon, but pick it that way. And then you know, you have some opportunities there that are available to them, you having consistent tutoring hours, regardless of where you teach is so important. Okay, number eight, for public school teaching tips is just set realistic expectations for your students. I think it’s especially important in a public school setting where you have so many students walking in your classroom with and you don’t know, their background, their capabilities, whatever, you know, I remember. And it’s like hard to think of I remember having a student. And I was like so frustrated that he wasn’t meeting my expectations for homework, only to find out that he lived in the local boys home. And it was too loud for him to concentrate at night. And he or you know, I had another student where they were going, they’re taking the bus from school straight to work and they’re getting in at 11pm because they’re trying to help their single mom and they just didn’t have time for homework. And once I was aware of these realities for their lives, I was able to set much more appropriate and realistic expectations for them, which was not assigning homework at all, which I do and I will share a link in the show notes or blog posts about this, I’m super passionate about this, especially for your on grade level classes, like don’t assign homework because these kids have so much going on outside of the class. But being able to know where they were at helps me to differentiate what I was doing, and really set expectations for them that weren’t burdensome to them. Number nine tip is arm yourself with differentiation tools for your classes, because they are going to be so diverse. You know, I’ve said it before, but like I was teaching 30 plus students, you know, in my classroom and their capabilities and resources were night and day different, I had students that didn’t have access to a shower and students that were wearing the newest designer clothes all in one class period. You know, especially I feel like with my college prep, which were my technically my on grade level classes, you know, you had students in there that were capable of honors level classes, but were just lazy, or they just didn’t like science. So they didn’t want to be in an honor science, which is totally fine, mixed with students who literally were first time English language learners, like all in the same room, and then everywhere in between. So you have to be prepared to adapt on a daily basis. And so if civility and consistency are your love languages like mine, you know, it’s harder to kind of thrive in this setting where you have to just really hold your lesson plans loosely. This, you know, may not be the job that’s best for you, you know, you’re not going to be able to use like a standardized district curriculum year after year and Hope you can sit back and relax over the summer, like you’re going to have to be constantly making adjustments. I really feel like with public school, especially there’s no like one size fits all in the education world. So and that’s one reason why honestly, I love resources from Teachers Pay Teachers, because I know it’s coming from a teacher who understands adaptability in a practical sense, not like a theoretical sense, like I’ve seen in a lot of district curriculums that I’ve been provided. And it’s going to be something that’s useful for implementing in a diverse classroom. I also love TPT resources and curriculum, because it gives you some sort of foundation just to start with and use. And then you don’t have to spend any effort lesson planning, you can use all of the time and energy, you have to focus on differentiation. Like that’s why I love writing curriculum and do my own curriculum for it’s not rocket science, because I want to be like, here’s all your lesson plans. So don’t worry about lesson planning, or writing tests or coming up with labs like here they are now just implement this, but focus on actually teaching and caring for your individual students needs. And adapting these things that I’m already giving you, for your students to best serve them. It’s something I’m really, really cared about. So just be prepared to differentiate for your students, because you’re gonna have to. And then last but not least, for public school, I would just say use the gifts of your team, most likely, if you’re at a public school, you’re going to be teaching with a team of teachers, you’re not going to be the only one teaching what you teach. And listen, it’s a really small school. And to take advantage of that and work smarter, not harder. Again, my first year teaching, I was on a team of five biology teachers, and then myself and one other teacher taught physical science, but we basically just divvied up the workload amongst our team to be the most fair, and what we found was even unfair, was just making sure we were all utilizing our own gifts. So even though some of us were technically doing more work than others, we were all working within our gifting. And so it made it feel very fair. And you figure out what the teachers on your team are passionate about and good at, and then use that to divide up your workload. So maybe it needs to be you know, by subject, I know that’s really common in elementary schools to divide, like you do all the ELA, I do all the math and we share. So maybe like, if you and another teacher both teach, you know anatomy, biology, you do all the biology planning, she does all the anatomy, and you swap it or whatever. Or maybe it needs to be by unit topic, like someone tackles all the evolution resources and shares someone does photosynthesis. You know, it could also be by level, like someone to handle CP someone handles honor someone handles ell, that kind of thing, especially if like one of you also to use AP Biology, they should totally be over the honors curriculum to make sure it scaffolds to that. You know, it could also be like, by the type of instructional resource like someone write all the tests, someone else, do all the lecture PowerPoints, someone else do the review materials, but really work together to be efficient. And that will help you be the most effective as a team and present the best resources for your students. You know, we kind of did everything together on my team that I taught on. But when it came to review resources, and reviewing for our EOC exam, we divided the review up among us and we each took our favorite kind of topics to teach. And then we handle that review. And we had students rotate between our rooms for review for that time. And that was awesome too, because they got to hear it from a different voice in the review time. So I really liked doing that. Okay,

we just tackled 20 tips 10 for private 10 Republic, I hope no matter where you’re teaching right now, you found some of these helpful, and I hope they kind of gave you some ideas too, as you’re listening and I know some of you are considering maybe switching schools next year. I think, regardless of where you teach the most important factor in whether or not you feel content, though where you are is whether or not you have good support, and I feel like personally, your admin but also those parents and your co workers They’re, I mean, they’re all important, but especially admin, I’m actually bringing back my high school chemistry teacher, Zach Matson to talk about working with good and bad admin. And then also a little bit about parents and co workers too. I actually interviewed him back in episode 35. And it was my most listened to episode of 2022. So I knew I wanted to have him back and talk about all these things with him. To make sure you don’t miss it. Be sure to follow the secondary science simplified podcasts wherever you listen to podcasts, so you will not miss what’s coming next. And as always, you can find today’s show notes at it’s not rocket science classroom.com/episode 66 All right, teacher friends. That wraps up today’s episode. If you’re looking for an easy way to start simplifying your life as a secondary science teacher, head to It’s not rocket science classroom.com/challenge to grab your classroom reset challenge. And guess what? It’s totally free. Thanks so much for tuning in, and I’ll see you here next week. Until then, I’ll be really free teacher friend.

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