Retaining teachers is a problem in all districts but is especially difficult in rural areas. This survey research asked teachers in a western state to respond to open ended questions regarding their choice for teaching in a rural or urban area. Results indicate teachers work in a rural locale because they grew up in the area, already lived there as an adult, and/or had a spouse/partner with a job in the area. Both rural and non-rural teachers cited the importance of a positive school environment with supportive administrators and good working conditions. Teachers stated inadequate working conditions at school affected their decisions to leave the field. Based on results discussed here, key factors in making teaching a sustainable career and the predominant career challenges that teachers face are more similar across rural and non-rural settings than different, although there certainly are less predominant challenges unique to each setting.

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