Rural Teacher Profiles
Hear what teachers are saying about the benefits of teaching in rural and remote locations.
Lanelle Lee Chin, Visual Arts and Photography Teacher,
Hay War Memorial High School
If you're offered the opportunity to take a rural or remote NSW teaching position, take it with both hands...Going to a country town's pretty awesome as a beginning teacher
Lanelle Lee Chin grew up in Lake Macquarie and attended both Cooranbong Community School and Hunter School of the Performing Arts, a selective performing arts school. After completing her secondary studies in this ‘absolutely vibrant and positive learning environment', Lanelle studied for her Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Fine Arts through the University of Newcastle.
‘I think I always knew I wanted to be an art teacher,' Lanelle says, adding that she had some fabulous primary school teachers and excellent high school teachers who were ‘always encouraging and inspiring as not only educators, but real people who took the time to care about you.'Lanelle worked as a casual teacher in the Newcastle area for a year and a half before receiving a phone call offering her a permanent position at Hay War Memorial High School, which she accepted.
She's enthusiastic about the benefits of working at Hay. ‘Small communities are willing to embrace you and put a lot of faith into you and your abilities. Smaller schools allow you to take many diverse and different roles within the school environment.'
As a teacher, Lanelle enjoys ‘knowing that I'm in a profession that nurtures, educates and cares about young people whilst getting to teach two rather fun and creative subjects: visual arts and photography!'
Watching students achieve milestones is an aspect of her role that Lanelle finds very rewarding. ‘I enjoy watching each student strive for their personal best - I've had some great lessons that involved building a technical skill - seeing students thrive under the pressure of mastering a skill set has been rewarding.'
Lanelle's immediate career goal is to ‘build upon my experience to become a really effective educator,' with the continuing aim of working within a regional or rural area.
She believes the benefits of teaching in country New South Wales are many, including the fact that teaching at a smaller school means she knows every student and staff member by name. She adds, ‘DEC teaching incentives for remote and rural NSW include subsidised rental housing, extra TPL days, special leave provisions and climatic allowances, and further incentives if you spend the time in the rural areas accruing transfer points.'
For others considering teaching opportunities in rural or remote New South Wales, Lanelle suggests participating in an Explore Your Future – Beyond the Line trip. This program offers undergraduate teacher education students the chance to experience teaching and living in rural New South Wales.
‘Don't be afraid of going beyond the Great Dividing Range - there are many large centres with all the essentials,' she says. ‘Smaller centres will take you under their wing and you will never be short of dinner or event invitations. Every small centre is within an hour or so of a bigger centre with everything you need.'
‘If you're offered the opportunity to take a rural or remote NSW teaching position, take it with both hands,' Lanelle concludes. ‘Going to a country town's pretty awesome as a beginning teacher.'
To teachers considering developing their careers in rural schools, Stacie says, ‘Jump at the chance.'
Barellan Central School
In 2001, when Stacie Luppi and her husband reflected on their hectic Sydney lives and realised they weren't seeing enough of each other, they decided to `bite the bullet' and try a move to rural NSW. They haven't looked back.
Stacie Luppi, Principal of Barellan Central School, decided to become a teacher because she wanted to have a positive input into the lives of students. Following the completion of a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Diploma of Education through the University of Western Sydney, Stacie launched into casual teaching in Sydney's western suburbs.
As a mobile teacher, which is similar to a Rural Area Relief position, Stacie worked at three schools: Ardlethan Central School, Parkes Central School and Barellan Central School.
After 12 months as a mobile teacher, Stacie was fortunate to gain a permanent teaching position at Ardlethan Central School. In 2010, she moved to a teaching position at Barellan Central School.
Six months later Stacie was successful in applying for the head teacher secondary studies position at Barellan Central School, and a few years later she successfully applied for the principal's position there.
Stacie is a strong advocate of teaching in a rural school, where she says ‘teachers have endless opportunities. If they wish to take a leadership position or a leadership role in the school, they have the ability to do so. If they would like to develop a dance group in the school, then they've got the ability to do that. They can take it and run with it … you've got the ability to lead staff in a number of areas, whether it's pedagogy, whether it's literacy, numeracy, particular aspects of a KLA, many things across curricula.'
For teachers who wish to build their careers in an executive role, as she has done, Stacie notes that there are many opportunities for leadership and ‘as much professional development as you might need to build your career and be prepared for the next step.'
To teachers considering developing their careers in rural schools, Stacie says, ‘Jump at the chance.' Clearly it was the right move for her.
Hear Stacie describe the great opportunities for teachers in rural and remote NSW from a Principal's perspective.
It's fantastic. Being a country teacher is great. You really get the best of both worlds, you've got the society you live in, the country feel, the community.
West Wyalong High School
A decade ago, Grant Lloyd was working in the printing industry in Sydney when he re-evaluated his career options. Grant decided to study to become a teacher through a retraining program offered by the Department.
As part of the program, Grant had to nominate for his final appointment areas of NSW where the need for teachers was high. "I was quite happy about that, because I really wanted a change from the city life style and I was looking at going rural, so it was fine".
Grant had family living in rural NSW and spent time with them during his childhood, so country living was familiar to him. Moving from the hustle and bustle of city life to West Wyalong, Grant has embraced living and working in the county. "It's fantastic. Being a country teacher is great. You really get the best of both worlds, you've got the society you live in, the country feel, the community. I guess you can say it's laid back but it's really a great environment."
Working in the country has not only provided Grant with these lifestyle advantages. He has also discovered there are excellent promotional opportunities for teachers. After around five years as a mathematics teacher he gained a promotion to Head Teacher Mathematics. He has had other leadership opportunities as well, including as relieving Deputy Principal. "I think there are definitely more opportunities for promotion as long as you're willing to take that step and move" says Grant.
Grant has a message for young teachers. "The opportunities are out here in the country and it's just a matter of taking them. Come out and experience it for yourself, it's fantastic. It's a great environment to live in and it's a great environment to teach in."Grant finished his degree in mathematics and was appointed to West Wyalong High School.
You're only given a few opportunities in life and you've got to take the ones that you're given.
Lake Cargelligo Central School
Originally from Newcastle, Nicola Plowman was accustomed to living in a large community. She was awarded her Bachelor of Teaching (Primary)/Bachelor of Arts (Honours) through the University of Newcastle and also completed her practicums and internship in the Newcastle area.
When she was offered a position at Lake Cargelligo Central School, located in the Central West of New South Wales, Nicola recognised it as an opportunity and accepted. ‘You're only given a few opportunities in life and you've got to take the ones that you're given.'
‘I'm really enjoying it,' she says. ‘It's just such a good learning experience and I don't think I would have been able to have this opportunity if I'd stayed in Newcastle.'
The adjustment to living in a small town has been made easier by the support of the school and wider community. ‘Everyone is so welcoming and inviting,' Nicola says. ‘I don't have any regrets about moving out here.'
Nicola encourages other teachers in a similar situation to ‘make the most of the opportunity and definitely take it on.'
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