To some, outback teachers are perceived as ‘lazy’, or ‘hiding out’ in the outback away from criticism of their teaching, or that they could not get a job in the towns or cities. This is a misconception we are aiming to dispel.
We know that experienced remote outback teachers are highly competent and highly skilled, especially in regards to differentiation, ESLD, special needs, behaviour management, adaptability, flexibility and catering for First Nations students.
As a remote teacher you have unique professional development opportunities, leadership opportunities, and often teach out of area or in multi-age classrooms. You learn on the ground about cultural awareness, two-way teaching and the importance of brain breaks for cognitive load.
So how do we flip the script on the stereotypes and misconceptions about remote teachers?
There are a number of ways that you could potentially raise the profile of outback teaching. Here are a few ideas:
- Share your experiences on social media: Share photos and stories from your time teaching in the outback on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Always remember to blur out student faces and identifiable features. Be aware of the context of the image- can this be misunderstood or misinterpreted? This can help raise awareness about the unique challenges and rewards of outback teaching, and may inspire others to consider a similar career path.
- Connect with other outback teachers: Go to our Facebook page ‘Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future) to connect with other teachers who work in the outback online or in person. This can be a great way to share ideas and support each other. Use the hashtags #remoteteachers #teachersinremotecommunities #outbackteachers on Instagram.
- Write about your experiences: Like us, consider writing articles, blog posts, or even a book about your experiences teaching in the outback like ‘Outback Teacher’ by Freda Marnie. We would love to have guest posts from other teachers on this website. This can help raise awareness about the challenges and rewards of outback teaching, and may also inspire others to consider a similar career path.
- Share your expertise: Volunteer as a guest on our podcast The Remote Teacher Podcast . Speak about your passions remote whether that be engagement, two way teaching, ESLD or other.
- Partner with local organisations: Consider partnering with local organisations that are dedicated to supporting education in the outback, such as the Outback School of the Air, Girls from Oz, Clontarf, Shooting Stars and others. This can help raise awareness about the important work that these organisations do, and may also provide opportunities for collaboration and support.
- Advocate for better support for outback teachers: Consider advocating for better support for outback teachers, such as through professional development opportunities or better resources and infrastructure. This can help improve the overall quality of outback education and make it a more attractive career option for teachers.
- Share your positive story with friends and family back home. Be the voice that challenges stereotypes. Say something when you hear something being said about remote teachers, Aboriginal Education and First Nations peoples.
- Be mindful of the story you tell: Consider the balance of positives and challenges. Make sure you preface your discussions about the diversity of First Nations people and communities.
We have the power to shape the conversation.
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