Wednesday, August 1, 12:00-12:30, SUB Ballroom D, Theme: Practice

Many graduates of Oregon teacher preparation programs will teach in rural and small town schools.  Despite this, most teacher preparation programs in our state do not specifically address the varied realities of a rural teaching life and the variety and nuance of rural cultures and communities.

Rural people exist in contested space between an idolized rurality ( and an imagined dark and backward rurality that is blamed for our current political and social woes. There has been much public wringing of  hands of late about rural America which is imagined as either the wholesome repository of our best national qualities or to incubate racism and intolerance of all kinds. The success of books such as Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy (2016) speak to the public’s renewed curiosity and ambivalence about rurality and rural people.

The work we do to prepare rural teachers is fraught, particularly at this historical juncture when the public discourse about rurality and about public schools is louder and more vitriolic than ever. This is the landscape we navigate as we guide them through clinical practice and the intersection of school and community.  This presentation interrogates what it means to be a culturally responsive teacher in rural Oregon and discusses strategies for preparing teachers for and with Oregon’s diverse rural cultures and rural communities.