St. Andrew's-Sewanee School
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For many, many years, SAS was a genuine community where all generally pulled together to live, learn and grow.

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Former Employee - Faculty in Sewanee, TN
Former Employee - Faculty in Sewanee, TN

I worked at St. Andrew's-Sewanee School full-time (more than 8 years)


A common phrase was, "It's not a job, it's a lifestyle." Although the hours were crazy, the genuine connections between adult to adult, student to student, and adults and students, made few faculty actually count the hours. The primary guiding question was generally, "What's in this student's best interest?" The school tended to attract students who felt like square pegs in a world of round holes. Through honest, caring relationships, coaching and often the "tough love" of accountability followed by a lot of dialogue (not monologue), many, many students eventually began to really understand who they were and what they were all about. Although it was certainly a college preparatory school, it was far more of a "life preparatory" school.


The administration changed, and they never quite understood the school's real mission, and what happened "on the ground" day to day. In spite of the faculty who tried to continue seeing it as "a life style, not a job", decisions were consistently made over time by the administration that made that approach a fool's folly. Although a few of the seasoned and passionate faculty remain, most have moved on for one stated reason or another.

Advice to ManagementAdvice

It would be very much in the school's and the students' best interest for the administration to realize that the passionate and seasoned faculty are the actual product, the "deliverable". Pushing away or letting go older, more experienced teachers so those positions can be filled by young, inexperienced, and hence less expensive, teachers might improve the bottom line for a year or two, but it is very, very short-sighted. The boarding school world is surprisingly small, and word gets around to potential faculty as well as to prospective families. Add to that the fact that the most powerful marketing tool, word-of-mouth from current parents, quickly begins to dry up, or worse yet, turn sour, and it is not difficult to see that cutting costs by replacing a large number of seasoned teachers with young and inexperienced teachers is not a wise, or even viable, business strategy. Bringing in and developing young teachers is absolutely crucial for the school and for the greater teaching community. We were all young teachers once upon a time. However, who is mentoring them, both officially and unofficially (structured and vicariously)?

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