Staying BRiTE in Remote Schools and Communities: Embedding Resilience Promoting Content within Professional Experience Placements and within Community
Morrison, CM and Swabey, KJ, Staying BRiTE in Remote Schools and Communities: Embedding Resilience Promoting Content within Professional Experience Placements and within Community, AARE Conference Papers 2017, 26-30 November 2017, Canberra, Australia ISSN 1324-9320 (2017) [Conference Extract]
Attracting and retaining early career teachers to rural and remote schools is a constant challenge within Australia and other nations (Sharplin, O’Neill & Chapman, 2011). Newly qualified teachers make up approximately one quarter of Australia’s rural teaching workforce, as rural and remote schools regularly offer more continuous and stable employment opportunities to graduate teachers than the common experience of fixed-term or casual employment within metropolitan centres (Ramsey, 2000). Despite the enticement to venture beyond familiar geographic and socio-cultural zones, employment conditions have failed to arrest the churn of beginning teachers entering and prematurely leaving these hard-to-staff schools and communities - the multitude of complex challenges experienced within these contexts simply prove too much (Plunkett & Dyson, 2011). Alongside high attrition, interest in remote teaching as a career entry pathway continues to fall (Owen, Kos & McKenzie, 2008), which in turn exacerbates existing issues relating to the quality and
outcomes associated with rural and remote education (Ramsey, 2000). Enhancing the resilience of early career teachers within hard-to-staff contexts has been pursued as a strategy to positively contribute to the capacity of this workforce while reducing attrition (Beltman, Mansfield & Price, 2011; Johnson, et al., 2014) and has led to the development of considerable resources aimed at creating resilient transitions into the workforce (see https://www.brite.edu.au/ for more information). This paper reports on a process to embed Building Resilience in Teacher Education modules into Professional Experience placements and to extending insights about resilient transitions to teaching to remote communities invested in recruiting graduates into their hard-tostaff locations. The Staying BRiTE fellowship provided an opportunity to connect with leading Australian researchers to make this content available and to consider how these resources were utilised to respond to contextual challenges faced in hard-to-staff Tasmanian schools. Initial findings focus attention on the contextual challenges of attracting pre-service teachers to remote schools
and broader understandings of the challenges and complexities associated with graduate teachers relocating to remote communities. Discussion will focus on using the findings of the Staying BRiTE collaboration to strengthen the preparation of pre-service teachers assessing their future intentions to teach in remote schools.
Initial teacher education; teacher resilience; teacher health and wellbeing