Becoming a teacher in a private school: why not (asks the VDP)?

WIESBADEN. Private school or public school? This question is not just posed to parents and their children. (Potential) teachers can also decide where they would prefer to work. But entering the landscape of private schools is still an exception. Prejudices and misconceptions prevent many from looking for a suitable job. It’s a shame, at least that’s what our guest author, Lisa Radausch, a consultant at the Association of German Private Schools (VDP) in Hesse, thinks. Because the world of private schools shows that the teaching profession can be as diverse as the school landscape itself.

“Here at the Hermann Hesse Education Center I am fortunate to work the way I imagine it.”: Principal Jan Große. Photo: Hermann Hesse Education Center 2022

Notions of “private school”

Private schools are enjoying growing popularity yet: clichés and prejudices about “schools for the rich”, “acquired qualifications” and “dancing the names” are not just stubborn among parents. Teachers too often have reservations and don’t consider going to a private school. What contradicts these reservations is that private schools are supported by the state and try to keep tuition as low as possible. Final exams must be conducted according to state specifications or international guidelines. And the results of the PISA studies also show that many education reform approaches lead to better results with less pressure to play. For this, qualified personnel is essential.

Teaching grade – no thanks?

However, the current teacher shortage shows that the teaching profession has become less attractive overall. Fewer and fewer young people decide to study and the school dropout rate (up to 50%) is high. Adventure, local flexibility, and self-fulfillment are highly valued by high school graduates, but very few see them in the school area. The experiences of your school days and the environment often shape an image which, however, reflects only part of our diverse school landscape in Germany.

Free to choose what fits

It is therefore not surprising that even those who would like to become teachers often limit themselves to what they know themselves: if you are a teacher, then please “correctly”, that is, with a permanent job and with the status of an official. This ignores the fact that, in addition to the numerous public schools, there are also a large variety of private schools that may suit your ideas about being a teacher even better. In contrast to the state system, here you have the possibility to choose the school that suits you. After all, there is no teacher and certainly no school.

Qualified personnel are important: career changes are still welcome

What matters in private schools is what you bring with you in terms of qualifications and as a person. We are therefore also looking for teachers with professional experience from public schools who want to contribute and expand their many years of experience. Personality and interest in the respective pedagogical concept also play a role. Similarly to state schools, career changes with the appropriate profile can also be undertaken for certain subjects, e.g. practical training or relevant university studies.

The right school for me?

We provide an overview of the diversity of the private school landscape:

  • International schools: in the adventure!

Private school principals know that being a teacher is a full-fledged job. “It is all the more important that this commitment is seen and appreciated accordingly,” says Bettina Otto, head of administration at Dreieich’s Strothoff International School. “In our school it is international, but also family oriented. Because many of our teachers and pedagogues come to us from other countries and therefore have the center of their life in the school.” . The fact that they can determine their curriculum – that is, the programs and processes themselves – makes international schools attractive to teachers who are open-minded and want to make a difference, Otto says. For her it is important that the teachers of her school can become designers and fully live their commitment.

  • Schools that capture people: “L’Isola dei Beati”

… this is how Jan Große, principal of the Hermann Hesse Education Center in Frankfurt, calls his school. Because there is something here that cannot be achieved for teachers in the public school system: small classes of four to eight students, a particularly personal relationship with students, and a close network with the school social service.

Schools like yours, which specifically target students with addiction problems and other mental illnesses, show that private schooling is not the same as wealth and the elite. Because the diversity of the private school landscape also means “that there are people who have no resources”, as Grosse says. By doing so, he is also referring to the “failure” that many of his he students have experienced in the public system during their school days. For him, private school means that he can design the school in a way that does justice to his students’ circumstances. Teachers who want to be close to people and seek self-efficacy will find it here.

  • Free Christian schools: the Bible is one of them

In Christian schools, teachers too can fully live their faith in their work. The central concern of all employees is to provide young people with valid answers to life’s questions. It is important that the teachers themselves have found guidance through faith in Christ and reading the Bible. Because it is especially important for schools that their teachers talk about Jesus in their lessons. God and the Bible are the basis of the educational concept. Those who make the decision in advance can, as in all private primary and secondary schools, carry out their legal training there and start directly at the desired workplace.

Christian schools are recognized by the state and value modern technology. Not only do children from Christian families sit in classrooms, but also others who are open to life with God. Teachers who live their faith in a missionary way have come to the right place.

  • Schools with new pedagogical concepts:
Lessons with role reversal: at the Steinmühle, teachers and students meet at eye level with new methods. Photo: Steinmühle Marburg 2022)

Unlike public schools, private schools have a management that can implement quick decisions in an unbureaucratic way. “For teachers, this offers the advantage of being able to introduce ideas more easily and being able to concentrate fully on the lessons,” says Dirk Konnertz, managing director of Steinmühle Marburg. Because his school’s pedagogical concept predicts that there is as little frontal teaching as possible and that students become actors responsible for their learning. This requires enthusiasm in preparation on the one hand and a willingness to make creative and differentiated lessons on the other, “says Konnertz.

Your school’s teachers should be happy to try new things and contribute their personal passions to the development of the school. In return, the school makes sure that work and family or leisure can be easily reconciled. In addition to work or bicycle tickets and a gap year, we also offer flexible working hours and, for example, we pay attention to childcare in creating schedules. “

Further information is available at: and directly from the Association of German Private Schools in Hesse ( or from all other state offices of the VDP (https : // / state associations /).

“Career and vocation meet”: a teacher in a parish school report


Leave a Comment