I have come to think, and will compile my first list with this frame of mind, in teaching rural. Very rural. At the moment, I’ve just organised schools by the TEPS benefits that are associated (yes, that is the primary factor regarding my school choice at the moment, with a real want to move out of home as soon as possible being my second factor), and am working from the top.
I had to look up just what TEPS was - the Teacher Employment Priority Scheme. NSW has long had a problem in getting teachers for more remote areas and especially in inland NSW. The TEPS ranking for individual schools is a measure of this. A range of special benefits are offered for certain schools in rural NSW to attract teachers. These can be quite substantial.
A few years ago when we were doing some work for what was then called Country Week on regional employment opportunities, I had a fair bit of contact with teachers from the type of schools that Thomas is talking about. They came to the Expos to sell the story of country teaching.
The thing that really stood out in my mind was their sheer enthusiasm. They obviously wouldn't have been at the Expo otherwise, but the pattern was repeated over three years. They were enthusiastic about life in their communities and about the innovations in teaching that they had tried.
Teaching in this type of school is not for all. Some become completely absorbed. Others struggle with isolation, with life in a smaller community and with specific school problems linked in part to the way we have been progressively depopulating parts of inland NSW.
However, to do as Thomas is planning to do is to gain exposure to a different world, one that is becoming increasingly remote from the modern urbanised world of our metropolitan centres.
Cousin Jamie has taken some absolutely wonderful photos of this world. Based now in Wagga Wagga, Jamie roams with his camera when not cooking or relief teaching. Do browse the photos. You don't need to know the areas to appreciate them.