Teachers Discuss the Troubles of Teaching in Rural America

The White House recently received the latest class of National Board Certified teachers, and asked those who were from some of America's most remote and distant rural communities about the realities of what it is like to teach in rural America.

These rural teachers identified challenges with funding, a lack of technology, and the need to elevate the teaching profession to adapt their curricula for a 21st century economy, writes John White, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Rural Outreach, at the Department of Education blog.

Jenny Lovering, a history teacher at Columbia Falls High School in Montana, wants to prepare students for college and careers so they are equipped to compete economically. Lovering would like to see these students return to and rebuild their community.

"I want to be able to help them to get to the places where they want to go, so they can come back. I want them to be able to bring in new industries and new ideas to revitalize this area that they love."

April Gosselink, who teaches at the Central Iowa Christian School, said:

"I hope to grow as an educator and to write to grants and to find the funding because we're teachers – that's our job. We have to go out there and if we don't, no one's going to do it for us."

Marjorie Manuel at Bastrop High School in LA, said:

"There are many challenges that we face in our school, as a rural school. One of which would be the massive turnover of teachers that we have every year."

More than five teachers in Manuel's school have quit already this year.

"It's easy to actually just go to another county and get probably one half more than what you're earning right now. And sometimes the only thing that's making you stick to this job and this county is loyalty."

The teachers attended a White House forum held for those in the teaching profession to share their thoughts on their profession and how the Administration can help support educators to ensure that every student receives high-quality instruction.

Senior officials at the Department of Education facilitated a series of roundtables with the teachers to get their input on how to best develop meaningful initiatives. From that, the Department produced a Plan to Reform Teacher Education, which looks to improve essential teaching training programs to ensure the nation's students receive the education they deserve.

01 29, 2012
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