How can I avoid the 'culture shock' of rural/remote teaching?

So, I’m thinking about going rural for my teaching placement but there are a few things that are making me unsure.

I’ve grown up in cities all my life and. I’ve never lived in a regional town or had to deal with smaller communities.

I hear a lot about the ‘culture shock’ beginning teachers often feel when they begin working at a rural school. How are rural and city teaching culture different? Will I be on the outer just because I’m from the city? How can I integrate myself, so that it’s not so much of a shock?

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Hi Liam,

Fantastic to hear you are considering this - rural placement can be the most challenging, yet rewarding experience of your career. I have a few comments/suggestions below:

  1. See if you can complete your final university placement at the school / area you are wanting to move to. This can allow you to find your feet over a short period of time, and prepare you for your first term the following year

  2. The teaching culture in a rural setting is often stronger than that of a city setting - this is built out or a shared experience among teachers. In addition teachers often live together in share housing and so there is a natural connection formed

  3. You will not be on the outer just because you are from the city!! In fact, you will be a welcome new face and addition to the community

  4. To integrate yourself, I would recommend attending as many social events as you can (trust me, you will be invited to lots). Participate in social sport (again, there will be lots!).

Overall, be open to meeting new people and forging new friendships. You will be making lots of lifelong friends.

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Hi Liam

It is a long ways back, but I did what you are asking about. In my case it was a transfer to Weipa for my wife and I. I got my transfer papers a week before we were to move into our newly built home. We had 10 weeks in it before heading to a remote township. Neither of us knew what to expect, but, we both had a wonderful experience in Weipa, doing things we would never have got to do had we stayed in the city. I have very strong memories of living in Weipa, 27 years later.

Like Doug said, get involved. Do new things. Kids are kids, but in rural and remote you will see them out and about. Use that connection. Be a part of the place. Let the context be your friend. Most of all, enjoy the experience.

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