Framed within ecological and institutional ethnography perspectives, and situated within a larger study of beginning teachers in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, this paper focuses on the dramatically different experiences of one beginning teacher who happened to secure half-time contracts in two rural schools within commuting distance of one another. His account of these experiences and how he makes sense of them orient researchers to the broad social, economic, and material conditions that organize the mutually dependent work of parents and teachers. This analysis contributes to beginning teacher research by affirming the value of personal stories of learning to teach, moving beyond studies of individual adaptation to fixed notions of professional success, and opening to scrutiny the shared conditions of early and later career teachers as they are institutionally and discursively organized, thus promoting appreciation of the complexities of learning to teach attuned to variation in local rural circumstances.

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