Rural Matters
Rural Matters
Jan 14, 2019
NREA’s 2018 Rural Teacher of the Year: Wade Owlett
Play • 38 min

Michelle chats with Wade Owlett, the National Rural Education Association’s 2018’s Rural Teacher of the Year, about several important issues in rural education, including teaching students who are living in poverty, Ginny Mead’s hope theory, skills training, and teacher recruitment, and innovation. Owlett, who grew up on a dairy farm and now teaches at Clark Elementary School in Elkland, PA, notes that, in the educational setting, poverty can be traumatic, affecting everything from student achievement to health care, nutrition, and the opioid crisis. It’s important for teachers to offer hope and be facilitators in guiding students in their lives, Owlett asserts. How? By developing positive relationships with kids. In Pennsylvania, he points out, there’s an increased emphasis on job skills. Owlett is working on an interesting initiative to enable students to gain certification in different areas, such as babysitting. On the issue of teacher recruitment, rural schools tend to spend less on teacher salaries compared to urban schools, which is a key element, along with professional development, in recruiting teacher in rural communities. Owlett asserts proudly that he loves teaching at a rural school because he knows every student’s name and that adjacent communities are very supportive of each other. Bottom line: “Everything is connected in rural areas…which we should all embrace.” This episode was sponsored by the National Rural Education Association, www.nrea.net

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