A Kind of Harsh Rural Reality

by | Mar 27, 2019 | Bush Voices



Imagine this.

You’re a dedicated but nervous Year 12 student settling into the rigours of the “most important year of education” at your local, rural school.

You’ve got five subjects; English, Health and Human Development, Further Maths, Psychology, and Sociology.

On one particular day, you roll into school ready for successive periods of SAC preparation only to be told your teacher – whom instructs three of your subjects – is leaving.

Permanently. Never coming back. As of that day.

You stand there, watching your teacher cry about the situation, and then you start to register panic.


What happens now?

Will your subjects continue?

Who will teach you?

And what about those SACs you were supposed to be preparing for?


What follows is a period of uncertainty for everyone – educators and students, alike.

For you, it feels like chaos … and though your remaining teachers do their best to soothe the situation, your feelings of unease are hardly subdued.

For a week you’re left in a semi-teacherless limbo as your school scrambles to find a solution.

After all, it’s not as simple as rescheduling another teacher’s timetable because there is no other teacher who can take those classes.

That one educator, who had to leave without notice, was teaching four Year 12 subjects – and you were the unluckiest duck most heavily affected by their abrupt departure.


You then question whether it would be possible for your parents to drive you to the neighbouring school, about 40 minutes away, so that you could keep studying these subjects, and then you reflect on the impost that this would bring to your family, even though you are convinced they would probably do it.

You even ponder the question, why can’t schools in these places work together so that if I lose my “only teacher” then I have a backup down the road? 

You’re told it’s not that simple but you’re not sure why.


There’s good news.


Your subjects are going to continue but you’ll now be taking them through the use of video conferencing with two other schools located on the other side of the state.

You’re relieved and thankful … but it’s a hell of an adjustment.

And even though you’re impressed by your new teachers, you can’t help but feel it’s just not the same as having an educator physically in the classroom with you, especially when your arrival in a ‘virtual class’ was an involuntary process.


Imagine this.

You’re a dedicated but nervous Year 12 student settling into your new structure of online learning.

You’re doing your best and busily preparing for your next wave of SACs.

You don’t particularly enjoy the disconnect of online learning, but you realise there’s no other choice.

And this leads you to pondering – resentfully feeling — that the upheaval of your first term in Year 12 is a kind of Harsh Rural Reality that urban students would never have to worry about.