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Dear Theo - How much/what type of experience for Housemistress?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by TheoGriff, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    We are just going to sit tight here and wait for someone else to answer this question, as I do not have boarding experience.
    Or if you prefer not to wait, you can do three searches in the box in top left of the Forum front page. One search on Housemistress, one on Housemaster, and one on Houseparent.
    That will provbably get you some answers.
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    I shall be doing the Win That Teaching Job seminar at 2pm on Saturday February 25th, and also the Moving into Headship or SLT seminar on Saturday 17th March.
    www.tesweekendworkshop87.eventbrite.com
    www.tesweekendworkshop90.eventbrite.com

     
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Right, where to begin?
    First of all, there is no such thing as a typical school. Every school is different. The financial wealth of the school will also, to a certain extent, influence what is required.
    It is not a case of how long you have worked, but what you have done. To put it bluntly, unless you are already involved in the boarding side of things, I would expect you to have little chance of being considered for such a role. You will, at the very least, need residential experience. In addition to this you will need to show that you have understood the demands that being a housemistress imposes upon you.
    In the bigger schools being a housemaster or housemistress is considered a big step up on the career ladder, and positions are highly sought after. My school will shortly have a Housemistress position opening up and it will not even consider anyone from outside the school for the role. It is too specialised a position - generally - for an outsider to be able to step into. You are a public face of the school. You are in a position of absolute trust with children day and night. You need to be a sympathetic shoulder to cry on for one student and a RSM with another. You will need to know the school rules inside out and, more importantly, the spirit that those rules were formed in.
    Most important of all, be realistic with yourself. Are you willing to accept that there will be times when the needs of another child will outweigh your needs or the needs of your own children? It is not a nine to five job and the job can be very demanding both physically and emotionally - and equally as rewarding.
    To be even more blunt, the fact that you are asking what experience if required, to me implies that you are not ready for the position. I may be wrong, but someone who was ready for the role would not be needing to be filled in on what experience would be required.
     
  3. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Although I was a housemaster for some years, I'm a bit reluctant to comment on what might happen in a girls' school. Karvol rightly says that every school is different, and I have known some girls' and co-ed boarding schools that prefer to appoint non-teaching house-parents or non-teaching matrons (under the job title 'housemistress') to run boarding facilities. Such people often have domestic, rather than teaching, duties during the day. I think this is because girls' schools can find it difficult to appoint housemistresses because they can only offer accommodation for a single woman.
    I do agree with Karvol that, where possible, schools are likely to want to know as much as possible about anyone they appoint as housemaster. In my own case, I had worked as an assistant housemaster in a previous school (before I was married) and after getting wed, I worked as a "day man" (doing one sleepover a week on average) before being appointed housemaster in a school where I was already head of department. Even so, there was a long formal interview which included my wife, as married couples are much preferred in schools that can offer the requisite accommodation. In fact, we had a rent-free four-bedroomed house annexed to the boarding house I ran, with everything provided (meals, domestic cleaning, gardening, no rent or rates, and half fees or less for my sons). It's a great life if you can stand the pace, but liberties are often taken - my wife, for example, was often expected to work as a stand-in matron or to go on school trips - and I'd recommend escaping far away in the holidays.
     
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    For a Housemistress position? I am sorry, but I beg to differ. No sane school would ever put someone without boarding experience in charge of a boarding house unless it absolutely had no choice.
    Residential staff by all means, but not the top job.
     
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Told you that we would get some contributions from people who have experience - even with different experiences giving different views!
    Best wishes
    _______________________________________
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Seminars. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
    I shall be doing the Moving into Headship or SLT seminar on Saturday 17th March.
    www.tesweekendworkshop90.eventbrite.com
     

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