Comparing Rural, Suburban, & Urban Districts?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by UpperMidwest, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. UpperMidwest

    UpperMidwest Rookie

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    Jan 7, 2017

    I well eventually be applying for a full time job and am wondering, what the key pros/cons are of rural, suburban, and urban districts? It would be especially interesting to hear from teachers who have worked in more than one environment. Thanks.
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I've only worked in one district, but I've worked at schools that could be considered urban and suburban. Most teachers could prefer the suburban schools over the urban ones. They are vastly different. The strengths of one are usually the weaknesses of the other. So I'll list the pros of suburban with the understanding that these are in comparison to urban. These are generalities.

    children go to/are sent to school to learn (opposed to get warm, avoid abuse, make a drug deal, eat lunch)
    parents are active in their children's education (read to them, take them on vacations, encourage studying for tests)
    families have resources (school supplies, internet at home, computers, warm clothing)
    children are better behaved
    children and parents typically speak English
    Parent/teacher associations are more active and provide financial support

    Cons:
    government funding and donations from large corporations are often funneled to urban schools before suburban
    many students start at private schools where education isn't as rigorous and they have a hard time transitioning to public high school
    helicopter parents. Parents think they can dictate how classes are run or "have friends" on the school board. This is probably the biggest challenge.
     
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  4. sophomorehope16

    sophomorehope16 Rookie

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I also have these thoughts about going into a rural school in a small district. The county is nearby a large city about 30 mins away. I'm just worried about getting a rental apartment which is basically not common in the area thus requiring me to drive from a neighboring town to go to work, something I'm trying to avoid plus I don't have any experience living in the rural area especially here in Florida. I do not even plan of buying a house and relocating unless I get the job at the school before the school year ends then be recalled for the next school year. I'm confused and don't know what actions to take. I'd appreciate any advice.
     
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  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I've only worked in suburban vs. rural. I worked in something that was close to being urban, but was just on the edge. By far, I prefer suburban.

    At my new rural school I find the following cons (though to some they may be pros):
    -very conservative views and values (often racist, homophobic, and misogynist views are spoken aloud quite frequently)
    -many do not value education
    -many do not have motivation to better their situation and openly state that they would prefer working at McDonalds rather than continuing their education
    -very low diversity (almost 99.9% white)
    -the only time parents get involved is when you teach something that they disagree with and they call you up to complain about state standards infringing on their beliefs, other than that, they rarely get involved with their students' education or care about their learning
    -very lazy, and are used to getting things handed to them without having to work for it.
    -complete disrespect for adults and teachers, and behavior issues because many of their parents do not parent either because they are not present or addicted to drugs or alcohol
    -some students are dealing with drug issues and teen pregnancy

    That's not to say every student and family are like this, but I see it a lot more often than I did at a suburban school (where some of these things still existed but to a much smaller degree).

    The only school I worked at that I would say is close to "urban" (it was a suburb of Oakland, but very close to the city proper, and had many characteristics of what people think of when you say "urban") had its own issues. Some of the issues are very similar to issues I am seeing in my rural school.
    -low to no parental involvement (there was no calling to complain about standards or anything but there were literally like no calls at all, and very few responded to calls or even picked up the phone)
    -the kids have very tough lives often dealing with parents who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or simply not present in their lives
    -high diversity but also a lot of race-based fights
    -I think many of them wanted to get out of the situation they were born into but they had so many boundaries to doing so
    -behavior problems were frequent because of lack of parenting
    -some students are dealing with drug issues and teen pregnancy

    The suburban school had SOME of the issues I mentioned in both rural and urban schools but they were much less common. I didn't work in a wealthy suburban area either, but they were middle class about. It seems like many of the issues I noticed in urban and rural schools were issues related to poverty.

    For me, I'd rather work first in a suburban school, second in an urban school, and I wouldn't touch a rural school again with a ten foot pole.
     
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  6. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Jan 8, 2017

    A lot of it is based on the individual area and not population size. That said, here's my pro/cons:
    Rural pros: small classes, opportunity for student involvement (in some small schools, everyone does everything from playing sports to the school play), fewer physical fights, more time available for each student
    Rural cons: sometimes limited course offerings, hard to find housing, generally uniform student culture, limited funding, sometimes no wifi, drugs and miscreant behavior from the older kids, skipping school to go hunting, can be hard to be accepted into the community, more frequent snow days because of the condition of country roads

    Urban pros: diversity (sometimes), expanded course offerings, more school activities offered, more community resources like public libraries, museums, local colleges etc., larger tax base (sometimes), larger professional community, easier to get grants
    Urban cons: higher student mobility rate, larger classes, tensions between student groups, harder for students to participate in activities, more physical fights, sometimes hard to find affordable housing in safe areas, not enough time for every student so teaching becomes triaged

    Suburban is a mixed bag. You might have helicopter parents, you might have workaholic parents who let daycare raise their kids. Funding and course offerings are the same way. There do tend to be more parents who insist their children are exceptional whether or not they actually are in suburban schools. Housing is hit-or-miss. The parents tend to be more educated, which means more support at home, but also means some of them think they can dictate how you should teach.

    From what I've seen, the best indicator of what type of community you'll get is the top employers for the area. I'd rather teach rural farming or rural commuter than rural industrial, for example. Farm kids have a sense of responsibility and accountability and commuter parents are usually educated, but a lot of rural industrial kids have no drive to succeed and no parental support. The town (and your job) will disappear if the factory closes.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I've taught in all three. It really depends on whether education is valued in the community.

    One rural school had lots of violence, drop outs, and low achievement by many. Another rural school had most parents valuing education, high expectations, and generally high achievement.

    The two urban schools- see preceding paragraph.

    I've only taught at one suburban school so I don't have another of that type to compare my experience.

    To compare them against each other, I tend to prefer the rural setting as that is where I prefer to live.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I've taught in suburban before, currently in what is technically urban, but it being a charter we have kids from the surrounding neighborhood to kids who live on farms.

    Suburban was nice--it was rather middle-of-the-road, no major extremes despite still being Title 1. Urban just seems..,. busier, edgier, more going on as far as school programs.

    I will throw in a chat with one of the teachers at my in-laws' middle-of-nowhere rural school in a tiny community of less than a hundred:

    Please note this is very specific to a rather remote, very tiny rural school:
    Pros: Extremely small class sizes to the point that several grades were lumped together (the school is a "three-room" school house). This made it easy to help students on an individual basis because while you might be aiming "1st grade" on Sammy Smith, you will have right there at your hands information for higher/lower instruction because, hey, you're teaching that to some other kids.

    Very strong community. Again, this is a community where everyone knows everyone. Great connection to the parents.

    Cons: Sometimes you know everyone a little too well.

    Because of the population, the school district only has k-8 support for the community, leaving kids to get kind of confused and chaotic toward the end. (What the school does is actually give every kid the "bus fare" that would have been spent on them to use as rent or whatever in another town that offers high school.)

    Not much diversity. This community is either white or Latino and that's that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  9. UpperMidwest

    UpperMidwest Rookie

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I know rural schools tend to pay the least. Are pensions typically worse, too? I know land is cheaper in rural areas so that's a plus.
     
  10. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

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    Jan 8, 2017

    Not in my area. My last district had urban as well as rural schools, but payment depended on the district, not the school.
     
  11. sophomorehope16

    sophomorehope16 Rookie

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    Jan 8, 2017

    I'm thankful of the inputs I'm reading on this thread. It's nice to hear from everyone. I'm looking at a rural school in a generally farming community. It's a small county with about a handful of schools from elementary to middle and with both high schools being A schools. It's a small district but it seems to be community oriented, I've had the opportunity at interviewing with one of the high schools but didn't get the job because at the time, I still haven't pass my subject area exam until recently, and I've found out that the position was no longer posted, however, there was an opening at the other high school which I'm thinking of applying for a math teaching stint. I'm just undecided because if in case I get the job, I would be facing housing issues since rental is not common and I'm not ready yet to buy a new house to relocate until I could finally get secured. Should I take the risk or move on to something else? I've had experiences, though short, in both suburban and urban settings. It's true that suburban areas have helicopter parents, most students are entitled and they feel they're so smart, older students tend to be very disrespectful while in urban settings, students seem very restless, fights are rampant, and of course, there are more disrespect compared to the suburbs. I have concerns with the rural school since, like most have mentioned, the diversity is lacking, 90%+ is white, and 6-7% are latinos. I could be the only Asian in the school or possibly in the community if that happens plus being part of the LGBT, I'm quite reluctant with people being open-minded.
     
  12. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

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    Jan 8, 2017

    My rural district is the highest paying in the area.

    It's also one of the most diverse districts in the area.

    I'd advise looking at each district as a case by case study.
     

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