What's it like to teach in a remote school


Ellie Clark started her first teaching role in 2019 after attending the 2018 Teach Queensland Career Fair and scoring her dream permanent job at Aurukun State School.

Making the move from Brisbane to the Far North Queensland community of Aurukun was a big decision and a huge step, but the process was far smoother than Ellie imagined.

There are some great advantages to working in a remote or rural school, backed by plenty of support from us to help you make the transition with ease.

We had a chat to Ellie about some of her reflections on the experience.

1. You might not need to invest in all the typical household goods (including boring expenses like fridges)

'One of the benefits of going rural or remote early in your career is that it could allow you to set up later down the track,' Ellie said.

'I’ve moved into a fully-furnished house, so I only needed to take things for my bedroom and personal items.'

'I don’t own a fridge or lounge or other big household items and I didn’t need to find the money to set up a house straight away, which is a great perk.

'Although, I was quite excited to make the move and bought bulk Tupperware and things like that!'

Many remote and rural schools have very affordable teacher accommodation nearby. Aside from the financial benefits, living with fellow teachers is a great way to strengthen your friendships and ensure you have a solid support network in your new community.

Otherwise, many people find housing is more affordable in regional, rural and remote locations.

2. We will help you move and get settled

'The department provided all the information I needed for the move, so I didn’t have to hunt for it all on my own,' Ellie said.

'Someone met me when I arrived in Aurukun, took me to my house and showed me around to help me feel comfortable in the new community.'

'The process was so easy. All I had to organise was when I wanted Toll to come and pick up my bits and pieces,' Ellie said.

Not only can the department pay your relocation costs, but did you know we can even pack and unpack all your belongings for you? You won’t have to lift a finger—just glide on in to your new community and focus on the fun, new and exciting stuff!

3. Permanency is possible, and quickly

'Permanency was a non-negotiable for me,' Ellie said.

'When I spoke to the Aurukun State School principal prior to accepting my job, I told him I wanted permanency, and he offered it to me straight away.'

'It was important for me to know I have the security of a permanent job, especially going to a remote school,' Ellie said.

If permanency is important to you, consider looking for a position outside of metro areas. And remember, working for the department gives you the flexibility to consider roles throughout the state and move wherever your heart desires—all while staying with the one employer (and carrying your leave and other entitlements with you).

4. Professional opportunities abound

'I have a friend who became a Head of Department at her rural high school after just 6 months into her first year of teaching,' Ellie said.

'I want to become a principal, so there are more opportunities away from the city for me to learn and access higher positions much faster than if I were in a metro area.'

When you work in a smaller school, you’ll likely have greater exposure to the full range of ins and outs that happen beyond the bells. Plus, there is plenty of scope for professional development—whether it’s short-term acting roles or other learning (like the department’s Take the Lead program for small school principals—you might find faster career progression and opportunities to tick off some career goals in a remote or rural school.

5. The cherry on top

No doubt if you make the decision to go to a remote or rural school, you’re keen to make a difference for students who might not get the breadth of opportunities available to kids in a big city. But the financial benefits that come with life out of metro areas are certainly a nice bonus!

'The financial benefits to going rural or remote are fantastic!' Ellie said.

'The pay is great and the rent is so low. I pay under $40 a week and it includes everything.'

'After struggling through uni, it’s exciting to know there are such great financial benefits to going remote.'

Use our new rural and remote incentives calculator to view the potential financial benefits you may be eligible for when teaching in rural or remote Queensland schools.

6. That small community feeling

'As an early career teacher, being in a small community has helped me learn how to build community connections, which is so important in this profession,' Ellie said.

Small towns offer so many perks! Whether it’s building genuine connections with your local community or the time and space to be more involved in your hobbies or with your family, life working in remote, rural or regional school is fun and full of things to enjoy.

Curious about a remote school adventure too? Check out the current opportunities advertised on SmartJobs. Make sure you’ve also submitted your application to teach with us.

Back to latest articles feed
Last updated 16 June 2020