New Teachers, Multiple Subjects: Rural Schools Face Dilemma

By Mary Schulken — July 28, 2010 1 min read
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Stephen Sawchuk, over at the Teacher Beat blog, wrote about a new study that has obvious implications for rural schools. The study, he explains, found Teach For America teachers who are assigned to teach more than one grade, subject, or out-of-field are more likely to leave their schools—or the profession altogether.

The scholars’ conclusion? If schools want to retain new teachers, don’t assign them to teach multiple grades or multiple subjects or subjects in which they have little or no formal preparation. Teach for America reaches deep into the nation’s rural school districts, particularly in the Mississippi Delta. So the study’s results are definitely relevant.

Yet the study’s recommendations likely have some principals and superintendents in small, rural schools districts chuckling out loud. In places where there are only a handful of teachers, teaching multiple subjects, grades and ability levels is a reality.
The real answer, rural educators would say, is to have teachers prepared and certified for that kind of environment.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Rural Education blog.