Are you considering moving to a remote community to accept a teaching position… with your children?
Want to work in a remote outback school but concerned about if your children will fit in?
You are so not alone. This is a really common question on the group ‘Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future)’.
This post explores some of the positives, challenges, risks and extra considerations.
- Your children will experience new culture and language that few other children get exposed to- they will be immersed in language and culture.
- Your children will experience excursions and camps to outback places that most people never see
- Your children may learn to be more understanding, empathic and compassionate
- Your children may gain an ‘extended family’ and friendship network that they remain in contact with for life.
- Your child may be able to participate in culture days, two way science activities, On Country learning and two-way learning in the classroom.
- Culture shock
- Different ability levels/ differentiation
- Missing birthdays, funerals, ceremonies, special events of family and friends
- Different curriculum from your home state/territory
- Access to medical care and specialists if your children should need them
- Missed time with family back home- who may or may not be there or in good health when you return
- Long distances between mains centers, sometimes with limited phone reception
- Street safety- educating your children about stray dogs, road safety, stranger danger etc
The Extra Considerations:
- Is there a daycare in community and/or place at local childcare facilities? Would a nanny/au-pair be an option to engage to live with you and care for your child/ren while you work?
- Does the school cater for high school students?
- What extra curricula or after school activities are available? For example if your child does karate the impact that this might have on your child that it is/isn’t available at new community?
- Does the school offer the range of subjects you would like your child to experience? Are they available via SIDE/School of the Air?
- What is the local healthcare like? How far is it to emergency healthcare if needed?
- What type of transport is available to go back to your home town? What are the costs and subsidies?
- Ask your principal if there are any other teachers who are parents with children or staff soon returning from maternity leave. Teacher-parents can be immediate connections and support networks.
- Some* small remotes have in the past allowed teachers who are parents with small children to bring their children into the classroom. They have been flexible. This may be a grey area but something to explore with your principal.
Extra considerations for single parents
- Do you have a parenting agreement in place with your ex-partner? Does that allow you to move to a rural/remote location/interstate?
- How will you manage logistics of other parent’s access times? Such as whether you will meet half way, put your child on a flight as an unaccompanied minor or whether you will fly with them.
Want to hear from remote outback teachers and parents themselves? We have two great podcast episodes with two remote teachers who chose completely different approaches to having their children in community: Susan Maidment (SOTA) and Bec Westwood (community school)
Want to discuss this topic more? Have you joined the free Facebook group with over 7000+ members ‘Teachers in Remote Communities (Past, Present, Future)?
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