Choosing A Rural Teaching Position

Recognizing the Importance of Relationships and Field Experiences


  • Tena Versland Montana State University
  • Sarah Schmitt-Wilson Montana State University
  • Jayne Downey Montana State University



rural teacher decisions, rural field experience, rural practicum


This study reports the findings from a survey of 201 recent teacher education graduates from a university in the Northwestern United States regarding the factors that influenced their decision to take a teaching position in a rural or urban community following graduation. Results indicate that an in-depth rural practicum experience, being close to family, and the size of school influenced new graduates' decisions. Other factors such as school culture and administrative support were also found to be important to new graduates' decision making.   The presentation will also share insights that can help to inform state and local educational agencies about strategies in attracting new graduates and in retaining new teachers in rural schools.

Author Biography

Tena Versland, Montana State University

Tena Versland is an Associate Professor and  the Program Leader of the Montana State University Educational Leadership Program.  Dr. Versland served as a High School and Middle School Principal in Livingston, Montana for 23 years prior to coming to Montana State university in 2012.  Dr. Versland's research interests include:  principal leadership, collective teacher efficacy, leader efficacy and rural education.




How to Cite

Versland, T., Schmitt-Wilson, S., & Downey, J. (2022). Choosing A Rural Teaching Position: Recognizing the Importance of Relationships and Field Experiences. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 32(3), 38–57.