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"A Passion and Enthusiasm to Bring Out the Best in All": Becoming a Regional Teacher

Conference Paper


Abstract


  • A perennial challenge in Australian education is the staffing of schools in rural, remote and hard to staff locations (Downes & Roberts, 2017). In addition, universities are under increasing pressure to address inequalities between opportunity and attainment in the capital cities and regional centres (Koziol, 2018). There is a recognition of the importance of attracting and retaining teachers who are suited for teaching (NSWCDE, 2017), with assurance of their classroom readiness (AITSL, 2015). Initiatives are aimed at attracting candidates with the ‘right’ motives for teaching particularly, for regional schools (Jenkins & Cornish, 2015). Compared with metropolitan locations teaching and living in regional contexts is different, with teachers facing considerable personal and professional challenges (i.e., isolation, fitting in, community expectations) (Downes & Roberts, 2017). Retaining teachers in regional areas is an issue for stakeholders and universities (White & Reid, 2008).

    Teacher candidates choose teaching for a range of reasons: job security, status, social contribution, interest and lifestyle (Moran, et al., 2017). Yet, motivation for teaching may not necessarily indicate satisfaction or suitability; as a successful teacher needs to display the right motives and possess certain values (Bruinsma & Jansen, 2010). Understanding the relationship between the values and career motivation can help to address issues of satisfaction and suitability. Richardson and Watt’s (2010) research support this notion indicating, “a need to understand the core values and beliefs that attract people into teacher education…”(p. 195). Further, in order for teachers to thrive in regional locations, it is necessary to consider personal values and motivations (Durksen & Klassen , 2018).

    Attracting and keeping quality teachers who want to work and live in regional areas enables opportunities for sustainable and equitable education across societal and geographical boundaries. It is suggested that local teachers play an important role in local communities (Jean et al., 2009), by building and maintaining social capital (Autti & Hyry-Beihammer, 2014), and providing influence on local identity (Smit, Hyry-Beihammer & Raggl, 2015).

    For regional candidates the choice of teaching is influenced by personal connections, schooling experiences and a sense of identity (Hong, 2010). They have a strong personal desire to stay connected to their local community and see teaching as an opportunity for upward class mobility and social change (Kline & Walker-Bibbs, 2015). Regional teachers are known to value and are valued as they assume vital roles in local communities (Burton & Johnson, 2010).

    This study was located along the coast of Australia, south of Sydney. Participants were from 5 campuses along the south coast of New South Wales–at distance of approximately 400 km, and some 5 hours travel by car. In Australia, 'regional' location is defined based upon a combination of size of population and distance from either capital city or major regional town.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Sheridan, L. (2019). "A Passion and Enthusiasm to Bring Out the Best in All": Becoming a Regional Teacher. ECER 2019 - the European Conference on Educational Research

Abstract


  • A perennial challenge in Australian education is the staffing of schools in rural, remote and hard to staff locations (Downes & Roberts, 2017). In addition, universities are under increasing pressure to address inequalities between opportunity and attainment in the capital cities and regional centres (Koziol, 2018). There is a recognition of the importance of attracting and retaining teachers who are suited for teaching (NSWCDE, 2017), with assurance of their classroom readiness (AITSL, 2015). Initiatives are aimed at attracting candidates with the ‘right’ motives for teaching particularly, for regional schools (Jenkins & Cornish, 2015). Compared with metropolitan locations teaching and living in regional contexts is different, with teachers facing considerable personal and professional challenges (i.e., isolation, fitting in, community expectations) (Downes & Roberts, 2017). Retaining teachers in regional areas is an issue for stakeholders and universities (White & Reid, 2008).

    Teacher candidates choose teaching for a range of reasons: job security, status, social contribution, interest and lifestyle (Moran, et al., 2017). Yet, motivation for teaching may not necessarily indicate satisfaction or suitability; as a successful teacher needs to display the right motives and possess certain values (Bruinsma & Jansen, 2010). Understanding the relationship between the values and career motivation can help to address issues of satisfaction and suitability. Richardson and Watt’s (2010) research support this notion indicating, “a need to understand the core values and beliefs that attract people into teacher education…”(p. 195). Further, in order for teachers to thrive in regional locations, it is necessary to consider personal values and motivations (Durksen & Klassen , 2018).

    Attracting and keeping quality teachers who want to work and live in regional areas enables opportunities for sustainable and equitable education across societal and geographical boundaries. It is suggested that local teachers play an important role in local communities (Jean et al., 2009), by building and maintaining social capital (Autti & Hyry-Beihammer, 2014), and providing influence on local identity (Smit, Hyry-Beihammer & Raggl, 2015).

    For regional candidates the choice of teaching is influenced by personal connections, schooling experiences and a sense of identity (Hong, 2010). They have a strong personal desire to stay connected to their local community and see teaching as an opportunity for upward class mobility and social change (Kline & Walker-Bibbs, 2015). Regional teachers are known to value and are valued as they assume vital roles in local communities (Burton & Johnson, 2010).

    This study was located along the coast of Australia, south of Sydney. Participants were from 5 campuses along the south coast of New South Wales–at distance of approximately 400 km, and some 5 hours travel by car. In Australia, 'regional' location is defined based upon a combination of size of population and distance from either capital city or major regional town.

Publication Date


  • 2019

Citation


  • Sheridan, L. (2019). "A Passion and Enthusiasm to Bring Out the Best in All": Becoming a Regional Teacher. ECER 2019 - the European Conference on Educational Research