We Made the Move (Pre-Stater Edition): Rick Honer
Many “Free Staters” have two concerns when considering their move to New Hampshire: a job and housing. There is a free market solution to both of these problems which might be a good fit for some. This opportunity involves private education, which is alive and well in New Hampshire. You might even get a free lunch!
According to The Boarding School Review there are 435 private schools in New Hampshire serving 35,481 students and ranging from small daycares to large college-prep boarding schools. In general, private schools do not require teacher certification and, importantly, have many employees that are not teachers. Some schools hire dormitory staff, tutors, coaches, chaperones, accountants, landscapers, IT techs, and more.
I moved to Tilton, New Hampshire, in 1999 to take a job at a private college-prep boarding school. There are 12 such schools here with a total enrollment of over 4,000. These students include “day” students and boarders. Typically, the boarders come from all around the USA plus many from overseas. My school has had students from Japan, Bermuda, Germany, Spain, Cameroon, Poland, Guam and even Andorra, to name just some countries of origin.
Most schools provide their employees with free housing, heat, meals, internet, water and even cable TV. I live in a dormitory apartment with my family, supervise the dorm, teach four classes, and coach two seasons of sports. Our school year begins at the end of August and finishes at the beginning of June. No meals are provided in summer. There is no tenure and I am hired on a yearly basis.
Working in a boarding school is a job and a lifestyle. I walk to work. I am surrounded by teenagers. I eat in a large dining hall. I know everyone’s business and they know mine. I work on Saturdays. I get the use of a gym, a weight room, a hockey rink, tennis courts, and a pool. At the end of the month, though, I only have a cell-phone bill and have accrued lots of vacation time.
So how to land one of these jobs? There are three distinct methods. You can go through a job placement agency (Carney Sandoe is one) that specializes in placing teachers and administrators in private schools. They charge nothing or very little and only get paid by the schools after a successful placement. You apply online and they take it from there. Availability and flexibility are key factors. This process requires patience especially since you have narrowed your search to only New Hampshire.
Or you can do your own search and send your resume directly to schools that appeal to you or have openings advertised on their websites. Hiring directly saves them money so they pay attention to resumes. If there is nothing available, they will tell you and, importantly, put your resume in their files. Jobs open up all the time so that is a very good thing. I found my job using this method. I sent resumes to nine schools and got five interviews and three job offers. Your number of “hits” will depend a lot on what you can do, teach, or coach. The market is in play here; English and History teachers are in low demand. Mandarin, Physics, Robotics, and Calculus are in short supply. However, coaching a sport can make you a very promising candidate. A school that is desperate for a lacrosse coach will find something academic for you to do.
The last method is simply “Who do you know?” The private school community is small and communicative. If you know one person at a boarding school, or even someone who went to a boarding school, there is a good chance they have connections with a wide circle of people. Your second cousin’s neighbor went to Freedom Academy and just came back from his 20th reunion? Maybe his old football coach just retired and they need someone to fill his slot. Many folks at these schools are here because they have a connection.
So if you find yourself dreaming of your “Free State” move and asking where to live and what to do, maybe you could fill the Robotics/Algebra/Soccer/Tennis slot at a private school!