As Houston grows in population, and the public school districts face increasing class sizes, the demand for private education options has also risen. Top private schools across the city have seen large increases in applications, and many are expanding. For someone looking for a career in education, one of the city’s growing private schools may be the place to find your niche.

(Photo Courtesy of Paul Catalanotto)

(Photo Courtesy of Paul Catalanotto)

Paul Catalanotto talks about his career in private education at St. John XXIII College Preparatory.

What does your current job entail?

“Aside from the ordinary teaching responsibilities: planning; calling parents; grading; paperwork; etc, I also help coach cross-country, which entails running with the team at 6 am,  attending meets, and chasing after paperwork. I moderate the Gaming Club two days a week after school for two hours. The gaming club runs itself. I mostly just make sure they aren’t reenacting Lord of the Flies.”

Have you participated in any form of continuing education?

“I am a firm proponent of life long learning. I have attended educational tech conferences, taken college courses, and every summer I attend a conference or forum that focuses on my subject content. I try to have an essay or article published in a journal every year. About a year ago, I delivered a paper at a conference on ‘evil’ in the Hobbit.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to pursue a similar career?

“There is a lot I do and most teachers do, that they do not get any kind of monetary compensation for doing. Be prepared to have very little free time in your first few years of teaching. Administrators will always ask you to do more, so be careful not to stretch yourself out too thin, so learn to say ‘no.’ If students aren’t doing well, it isn’t a personal attack against you or the subject. Sometimes they are interested, but life’s circumstances make it difficult to be a top student. It is better to be well rested than being up to speed on the latest episode of the current hit TV show. Form positive relationships with parents, fellow faculty members, and especially the students. At the end of every year, make sure to write a letter or email to parents of the students you had in class.”

Gillian Kruse is a freelance writer living in Houston. She graduated from Rice University with a great love for all performing and visual arts. She enjoys writing about arts and cultural events, especially little-known ones, to help Houstonians learn about what’s going on in their city. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.