What Every Parents Need to Know About What Makes a Great Boarding School Teacher

high quality teacher definition

We keep coming back to the quality, strength, and lasting influence of boarding school faculty. Faculty strength comes up repeatedly when you listen, alumni, current and past parents, and students. One is hard pressed to find a family with boarding school experience that doesn’t speak highly of their faculty- past and present.

Great, engaged, connecting, caring faculty are conventional wisdom. We know it works…but, there’s never been a lot of study or documentation around it.

We wrote about one study earlier this fall Study Confirms the Power of Student-Teacher Relationship in Academic Performance.

Important topics can’t go unexamined forever.

Matt Balossi and Natalia R. Hernández independent school administrators and and recent graduates of Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development have published the first of three blog posts highlighting their research at the NAIS blog independent ideas.

“Within that context, as doctoral students at Vanderbilt University, we teamed with NAIS to study exactly how administrators and great teachers in independent schools define the key attributes of high-quality teachers in our schools,” Balossi and Hernández write.

Independent school practitioners value teachers who build strong relationships with students. In fact, 100 percent of our survey respondents rated this attribute as important or extremely important…

The second attribute that emerged from the data was pedagogical knowledge and content expertise…

Third, independent school leaders as well as the highly qualified teachers we interviewed value teachers who pursue continuous learning and personal growth…

Lastly, independent school administrators and teachers in our study identified fit within the school’s culture as a key attribute of high-quality teachers in independent schools…“(NAIS)

What does this mean for families considering a boarding or independent day school?…

Make asking and learning about a school’s faculty part of your considerations. When you visit a campus, begin with a few basic questions for your tour guide:

Who’s your favorite faculty member?
What’s different about the faculty here vs. your old school?
Tell me about the faculty member you most respect? Why?
Ask the admission officer to talk about the school’s faculty.

You’ll get quite a picture and feel for the school.

  • Gary

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Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

More by Brian Fisher

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