Teaching in a State Boarding School
This was originally published on Staffrm in 2016
For the past 5 years I have worked in and lived at a state boarding school. Prior to this I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a state boarding school and the thought of living on site was one that I couldn’t contemplate. However after returning from working abroad I needed not only a job but also a place to live and I got both with what was initially a 6 week position.
Currently there are 38 state boarding schools around the UK and the State Boarding School Association defines them as:
“A state boarding school is one where you pay for boarding and the education is free. The government pays for the education as it would at any other state school in England”
So to be clear, I do not work in a private or independent school. It is still a state school we just have a boarding provision.
At my school we have just over half our students as boarders from year 7 to year 13. They come from a range of backgrounds including international students and Service children, as well as local children who live within the catchment area.
One of the roles that I have besides being a teacher and a form tutor is that of a “Non-Resident Boarding Tutor”. This means that for one evening a week I working in one of the boarding houses (this year it is the sixth form) from 5:15pm till 9:30pm supervising the students during their prep time, making sure they are working well and supporting where needed and then essentially hanging out with the students. I choose to do this, no member of staff is forced to do it, but for me it gives me time to get to know some of the students that I don’t necessarily teach, earn a little extra cash and support some of the students with their studies.
Another difference from a normal state school is that we do have Saturday lessons for the main school from 8:30 to 12. The Saturday lessons do mean that we get slightly longer holidays (5 extra weeks over the year). I don’t mind the Saturday’s, it’s exhausting and makes the longer holidays even more necessary, but i get far more done on a Saturday now as I have to be up early then I do when I am not working.
In lessons there is little difference between boarders and day students, the expectations are exactly the same in terms of behaviour, learning and homework. No leniency or special treatment is given to the boarders over the days and without it being written in my mark book I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
I really enjoy working here, there are issues just like any school, but the additional interaction with the students has really helped to develop my teaching which is much more student focused then it used to be, and being able to live on site is a bonus as well.