10/25/2017 by Carney Sandoe Staff |

Why I Loved Working at a Boarding School- part 2

Westminster School campus with sunset Stay connected with CS&A

We're less than two months away from CS&A@TABS in Boston, our hiring conference dedicated to giving CS&A candidates the opportunity to interview with multiple hiring contacts from some of the finest boarding schools across the nation. We're especially excited about our first event of the year because we have long been advocates of the extraordinary educational communities that boarding schools provide. These institutions are unique, mission-focused schools with committed, passionate groups of educators who are always eager to discuss innovative ideas and learn new ways of teaching and leading. Boarding schools represent some of the finest schools in the world, and are filled with motivated and bright students who make a teacher's or administrator's work extremely rewarding.

We shared why one CS&A staff member found her job at a boarding school to be a transformative experience. Here, two more explain what they valued about their time working at these schools before joining our firm.

Rice BryanRice Bryan
Placement Associate

Which school did you teach at?
I taught at Eaglebrook School in Deerfield, MA, where I also went as a student (in addition to Holderness School). Eaglebrook is a junior boarding and day school for boys in grades 6-9.

What drew you to the boarding school environment?
As a student, I loved the camaraderie among the student body and, as an only child, Eaglebrook provided with me 250 brothers! As an educator, I wanted to surround myself with talented and committed educators who are intellectually engaged, eager to improve, devoted to mission, and committed to knowing students as full-fledged human beings–and a boarding school checks off all those boxes.

What subject did you teach?
I taught English, coached, and was a dorm parent. As Eaglebrook is grades 6-9, the dorm duty was so important. Helping students that age get their homework done is important, but they need so much more than that. They needed an advisor, a mentor, and a role model. And every so often, they needed a cheerleader and a motivator, even just to get through their morning routine. It sounds like a lot of work and at times it was. But the benefits of being able to form those relationships and impact a student's life far outweighed the challenges.

What kind of teacher thrives in the boarding school environment?
I'll answer this by sharing who my favorite teacher was and why she inspired me to work in boarding schools. Among many, my favorite teacher was Kate Knopp, who taught English at Holderness. I took 10th and 12th grade English from her. She encouraged me to write, to be creative, and take risks. She was also a ski racing coach, and I came to Holderness having lost some love for the sport which I had done all my life. She instilled in me a love for ski racing just by taking me aside for a few hours and skiing with me. We talked about growing up in Vermont, her ski racing career, and we just enjoyed skiing. It was a beautiful teaching moment. That’s the kind of teacher who thrives at a boarding school. Teachers who teach all the time, not just in the classroom.

Corinne WernerCorinne Werner
Senior Associate of Recruitment and Operations

Which school did you teach at?
I first attended Westminster School in Simsbury, CT, as a student, then I worked at the school after I graduated from college.

What drew you to the boarding school environment?
I grew up on a boarding school campus so it was what I considered to be the norm when thinking about my career. I thought I was going to try something different after graduating from college, but during my senior year I realized working at a boarding school is exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. I wanted to work in admissions (I had experience in admissions from college and spent my winter breaks working at the Westminster School admissions office), coach soccer and basketball, and be a dorm parent and advisor. I love the all-encompassing environment that comes with working at a boarding school. You are helping students beyond the classroom.

Did you live in the dorms when you worked there?
Yes! I lived in Cushing, which is the oldest building on Westminster’s campus. It is a lot of work being a “dorm mom,” but it was some of the most rewarding work I did. Parents trust you to take care and watch after their daughters and sons. Girls in my dorm ranged from 14 to 18 years old and were all working through what comes with being a high schooler. Being such an integral part of the girls’ lives allowed for some of my best times while working at Westminster.

What kind of teacher thrives in the boarding school environment?
To thrive in the boarding school environment, you have to not only “buy-in” but you need to be “all-in.” What I mean by this is you need to be fully invested in the work that you are doing. It is selfless and at times can be a grind, like when you go from the academic day to coaching to dorm duty. But every job comes with its own type of grind. I had a lot of favorite teachers during my time at Westminster, some of whom were also my coaches. They knew me as more than a student and that helped with my confidence in the classroom. I loved being able to fill that role for students at Westminster.

What is your fondest memory of your time there?
My fondest memory of Westminster is the tradition called Lawn Ceremony & Receiving Line. This happens the night before graduation – all of the juniors line up around the senior lawn (a plot of grass which only seniors and alumni can go on) and the seniors are huddled in the middle. Then, one by one, seniors will pull a junior onto the lawn. This signifies that they are now going to become the leaders of the school. The final remaining students standing on the outside of the lawn are next year's student government, and the final two students standing are Head Prefect and Junior Prefect. Once this part of the ceremony is over, the juniors and seniors file into the chapel for a speech by a faculty member. Then the seniors line up around the outside of the senior lawn and all of students line up to go through the “receiving line” of seniors to say their goodbyes. Boarding schools are full of rich traditions like this one that make each school unique in its own way.

We still have a few more boarding school stories to share, so keep checking back over the coming weeks.

Interested in working at a boarding school? If you’re a current CS&A candidate, talk to your Placement Team about attending CS&A@TABS on December 1 in Boston, where we’ll be welcoming boarding schools from across the nation who are looking to find passionate teachers like you!

Not a current candidate with CS&A? Apply today in order to be able to attend all our hiring conferences.

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