5 Reasons Why You Should Teach at a Rural School

A school bus is driving through the country in a rural area.

Aug 06, 2018

Kathy Johnson is the Assistant Director of the School of Education Professions in CCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies. Read her bio below.

 

According to a Colorado Department of Education (CED) survey during the 2017/2018 school year, 85 percent of rural/small districts have noticed fewer initial or professionally licensed candidates applying for positions. And fewer applications are being received than there are vacant positions. The highest number of vacancies were in special education generalist, secondary mathematics, secondary science, and culturally and linguistically diverse education positions.

In Colorado, many rural schools were constructed in the 1950s with improvements made in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s. As you step inside the brick and mortar or stone buildings, you often walk across cracked linoleum floors and step up worn stairways that have seen generations of students pass through its halls.

The walls are scarred with a variety of paint, fingerprints, and shadows of artwork from years gone by. There is very limited technology because of the building structure. “Technology just doesn’t seem to work well through stone,” said one rural school administrator. The buildings are often historical sites, and improvements are very difficult to get approved. So why teach at a rural school, you ask?

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider teaching at a rural school:

The need is great.

Even though it might not be for everyone, rural schools need teachers. Many times, an administrator is required to fill the teaching vacancies. In one rural school, the principal was not only the administrator but was also teaching full-day kindergarten to meet the needs of the 18 kindergarten students and their families.

There is a strong sense of community.

Rural communities have a strong sense of community. Parents participate in many more aspects of the child’s education than their counterparts in urban areas. Expect community participation in your class events. It gives them a chance to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. The school is the center of their community. The building itself is considered a “community center” often with multiple uses.

You will be valued.

Residents will know who you are as the “new” person in the community. Chances of meeting parents in the grocery store, local restaurant, or church is highly likely. They understand you are making a sacrifice to serve their community.

You might receive housing.

Some rural districts offer housing for their first-year teachers. This can be a real bonus, especially when housing in some areas is difficult to find.

It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

All teachers have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students. In a rural community, you are making the difference in the entire community. In order to teach in a rural area, t takes a servant's heart and dedication to teaching.

 

Do you have what it takes to teach in a rural school? Learn about how CCU’s education programs can equip you.

 


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Biography

Kathy Johnson is the Assistant Director of the School of Education Professions in CCU’s College of Adult and Graduate Studies. She has been in both K-12 and higher education for a total of 36 years. She currently teaches both undergraduate and graduate students in rural communities on the Western Slope of Colorado.

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