Are 'country teachers' viewed differently to metropolitan teachers?

As much as country service sounds exciting, I do notice some rhetoric surrounding it that perpetuates ideas that rural/remote teachers are somehow less respected compared to their metropolitan colleagues.

By this, I am referring to the opinions that “you HAD to go country to get a job”, or that beginning teachers only teach in rural/remote areas because of the job-seeking competition in the city.

Is this true? Does the teaching community actually feel this way? Will teaching in rural/remote propel my teaching career forward?

Have you heard these opinions yourself? If so comment below about how you responded to them!

  • Yes, I have heard people say those opinions.
  • No, I have only heard positive things about rural/remote teachers.

0 voters

This is quite disappointing to hear and I can assure you this is not at a widely held perception. Quite the contrary, many early career teachers make a deliberate choice to teach in regional and remote locations for a range of reasons. Some of these beginning teachers are choosing to return to their home towns and areas to be close to family. Others are seeking new experiences such as those only available in rural and regional towns. My own experience as a teacher in a regional town was extremely positive and I was well respected and regarded by members in this community and this experience provided me with more options later in my career. This is probably a myth and more of a misconception.

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This is very much anecdotal, but I feel in the workshops that I’ve run that, if anything, rural teachers command more respect because they’ve typically got a wider range of experiences.

It’s an interesting question, and I can’t find any research on this anywhere. My instinct is that it’s entirely a myth and that what might be behind this is city teachers who are worried about going to rural areas because of a lack of experience? Just a theory.

Prof Simone White and colleagues have done some interesting research on this in the past that suggests that once teachers have actually tried out rural teaching they change their thinking about it and view it far more positively.

It’s definitely viewed as a good thing for a teacher’s career, but there are other people on this forum who can speak to that more than I can. @DougMeikle @LindaEager?

From 1999 to 2014 I was a primary school principal, working for Education Queensland. With EQ’s transfer system, I didn’t get to recruit too many teachers. But when I did get that chance, there were a couple of things that really ticked boxes for me. The big one was breadth of experience, be that away from home or less preferred schools. When I think back on the teachers I worked with, and the teachers who taught me (so long ago!) I recall that having a breadth of experience was a crucial factor in their ability to relate. It may be a cliché, but being a well rounded person makes for a quality teacher.

What’s more, my experiences as a principal were only urban, as the breadth of my teaching experience included teaching from years 1 to 12, in both city and country schools, primary and secondary. But, I always felt that I has to work much harder as a principal as I had not had the learning opportunities from being a small school principal. I could not have done both, and I do not regret my career path–but I recognise the potential in rural / remote experiences.

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I completely disagree with this rhetoric.

Teachers who have experience in a Rural/Remote setting are often seen as experts in various fields upon returning to metropolitan areas. At my Inner City school, we even draw on these people to facilitate professional learning sessions for our younger, inexperienced teachers.

In addition, those teachers who choose to stay beyond the minimum service period often find themselves moving into positions of leadership (curriculum leaders, Year Level Coordinators and more).

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