“Working in the boarding school is really exciting“
by Kirsten Astor
Due to increased student enrolments, Schule Schloss Salem is constantly looking for new staff, especially teachers and house tutors. In an interview, Natalie Lander from our Recruitment Department reports on why it is worth working at Salem.

Mrs Lander, would you briefly introduce yourself and your tasks at Schule Schloss Salem?

I am Natalie Lander. At Salem I am responsible for the recruitment of pedagogical staff, but have other roles as well: I look after the 45 students at Salem Kolleg (www.salemkolleg.de), am responsible for the extracurricular activities at College (for the International Baccalaureate and Abitur system students) and also head up part of our Salem International Summer School. Before working at Schule Schloss Salem, I studied Sport and Recreation Management in Sheffield (UK) and later did my teacher training in Leeds. I was a primary school headteacher in England before moving to Germany with my family in 2002.

In addition to teachers, Schule Schloss Salem is always looking for staff for the boarding school. What exactly does a mentor or a house tutor do?

Both look after the pupils around the clock. We call them mentors at the Salem campus (years 5 to 10), and house tutors at the College (years 10PLUS, 11 and 12). Mentors and house tutors start their day with a tour of their wing where the students live. In Salem, the mentors take part in the daily morning run, except in winter, and also breakfast. For the older students, the house tutors check, for example, that everyone is healthy and on their way to class on time. Since most of the mentors and house tutors are also teachers, they go into the classroom themselves afterwards. In the afternoon or even in the evening, they help the students with their schoolwork as necessary. Afterwards, they take time to talk to small groups or individual students or offer ‘wing nights’. This can be drinking tea together or having a barbecue in the school’s own harbour, going to the cinema or bowling.

How can one imagine life as a mentor or house tutor?

Mentors and house tutors live together with the students on campus, but in their own apartments. This makes it very easy to get to know each other well. Mentors and house tutors are the link between teachers, parents and students and a kind of surrogate family for the students. Although the working day is long and one is also responsible at night, there are always times during the day that you can use for yourself. Mentors and house tutors also have a day off during the week and can enjoy the long holidays. The job is very suitable for families, as I can testify from my own experience. I myself was first a boarding school pupil in the UK and then a house tutor in Salem for 13 years. In all those years I didn’t need childcare because I was able to balance work and family well.

The school is increasingly looking for teaching and boarding assistants because of the growing number of pupils. What do they do?

Yes, we are looking for teaching and boarding assistants for the Salem campus, especially for foreign languages and/or mathematics and science subjects. The assistants regularly assist or substitute for the teachers in class and for the mentors in the boarding school. They take over driving duties, supervise homework time, give extra tuition when needed and also participate in other aspects of boarding school life. The positions are limited to half a school year, but there is the possibility of an extension.

What training or qualifications do mentors/house tutors/assistants need?

Teaching and boarding school assistants are usually teacher training students between their first state examination and the beginning of their traineeship, but sometimes also career changers with relevant studies. Physics, mathematics and chemistry are in great demand at the moment. For pure mentors and house tutors, it would be helpful if they have studied social pedagogy. But mostly we are looking for boarding school staff who will also teach. This job is suitable for teachers who are looking for an additional challenge and responsibility. Applicants from the field of experiential education or with other educational training, for example in the outdoor sector, are also suitable. It is also often the case that qualified teachers apply to us and we can also offer a position for their partner without pedagogical training, for example leading an afternoon activity or helping with weekend duties.

A certain resilience to stress is certainly also an advantage for boarding school staff?

Oh yes, the daily routine of mentors and house tutors is long and sometimes exhausting, but it never gets boring (laughs). Personally, I really enjoy working with young people. I can highly recommend working in the boarding school as you get to know the children and young people as personalities, not just as pupils. But you also have to be prepared to be in constant contact with many people.

How do you find new staff?

Through our school website, the network of former Salemers (Altsalemer Vereinigung ASV) and various advertisements, (prospective) teachers can find out which subjects are being sought. Of course, we also welcome unsolicited applications! And since Salem is a thriving community of students, staff, parents and friends, we also often receive applications by word of mouth. Therefore, we would be very happy if readers of this interview would pass on the link below to teachers or social pedagogues who they think might be interested in working with us at Schule Schloss Salem.

The search for suitable candidates is certainly not easy. Is it fun nevertheless?

That’s true, but I enjoy working with my colleague Susanne Schilling in our Recruiting Department. For both of us, it’s interesting to meet new people and get them excited about life in Salem. We are also always very grateful for the support of all the colleagues who help us with the interview visits of the applicants.

Questions: Kirsten Astor

Further questions will be gladly answered by Natalie Lander, Recruitment of Pedagogical Staff, by email.

And here you can find all vacancies.