What is it like to Teach in Suburban Schools?

Today’s teachers can teach in suburban schools, rural ones or inner-city schools, but the vast majority choose to teach in suburbia. There’s a very good reason for this: Suburban schools often are the ones with the most robust funding, the largest array of programs, and the ability to hire the most teachers when compared to their rural and urban counterparts. One question that many teachers have, however, is quite simple: What is it like to teach in these schools that promise to offer unique benefits across the board? The answer comes in a few separate pieces.

Suburban Schools are Increasingly Diverse

Suburban locations have a reputation for being rather boring or uniform. While that might have been the case in the past, it’s actually becoming less true in the 21st century. Suburban locations are densifying and diversifying at a pretty rapid clip, and teachers in suburban schools need to be prepared to handle a variety of demographic groups and diverse populations. English as a Second Language is the fastest-growing area of language education in these schools, and native Spanish-speaking students are the fastest growing group of new students. The suburbs cannot be easily labeled all the same, or lacking in diversity, anymore. That means teaching must change to accommodate increases in diversity at all grade levels.

These Schools Offer Better Funding to Key Programs

Suburban schools typically have a larger and wealthier tax base than schools in urban or rural environments, and that means the schools themselves have more funding with which to secure technology, provide unique courses to students, or offer greater learning support to those students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or significant learning disabilities. While these tools make it easier for teachers to convey concepts and provide a quality education, they can make the teacher’s job more demanding overall.

Teachers are often required by administrators to learn and work extensively with technological tools. They are often required to meet with IEP coordinators and special education experts throughout the year for consultations regarding their special needs students. The funding for these programs does, however, allows suburban teachers and their students to attain higher levels of standardized achievement on average.

Curriculum Changes More Often in the Suburbs

Schools with greater funding and increasingly diverse student populations often find new ways of teaching that can meet the needs of new students. With added funding, it is easier to secure new teaching technologies and updated textbook series for teaching math, language, science, and social studies. While teachers will typically be teaching the same basic concepts, they will often be required to shift their strategies and adjust their teaching materials roughly every five years. That can mean additional lesson planning each year that might not be required of a school that changes textbooks or technologoes only once every decade or less.

Suburban Schools are Full of Challenges and Opportunities

The teaching profession is rewarding and challenging no matter where the school is located, and students often handle the same concepts and classroom scenarios in all settings. Even so, suburban schools generally benefit from better funding and more curriculum changes, which can help students learn better while presenting teachers with added lesson and planning challenges. Those who decide to teach in suburban schools should be prepared for change and diversity as they begin working at districts just outside the city limits.