Preparing Teachers for Rural Appointments: Lessons from the Mid-continent

Zoe A. Barley


Rural schools face difficulties recruiting or retaining qualified teachers. Prospective teachers need help better understanding the nature of rural teaching. Despite many pluses, collegial isolation, low salaries, multiple grade or subject teaching assignments, and lack of familiarity with rural schools and communities are challenges to new teachers in rural schools. This study examined nine mid-continent institutions for five components identified as preparing and retaining teachers to teach in rural schools. From the 120 teacher preparation institutions in the mid-continent, 17 confirmed the existence of a rural program emphasis. Nine of the 17 had three or more rural programs. Three of the nine programs offered options for teachers to receive multiple certifications. As to access, seven of the nine programs offered online courses and four offered courses at more accessible community college campuses. Four of the nine recruited students from rural communities and two programs actively sought student teaching placements in rural schools.


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