The forgotten ones: how rural teachers in Mexico are facing the COVID19 pandemic

Brenda Cecilia Padilla Rodriguez*, Cesar Alejandro Armellini, John Traxler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The COVID-19 global pandemic resulted in the cancellation of face-to-face classes in Mexico, as it did across the world. Adapting to these changes has been a challenge to many educators. This paper focuses on the experiences of 75 rural teachers in Mexico, who represent a minority in a country where approximately 80% of the population lives in urban areas. Respondents shared their views on the main changes to their teaching practices, the challenges they face and the support they require. Online learning may imply access to education for many, but it also highlights how easily the digital divides can widen in many social and geographical settings. The lack of electronic devices and limited internet connectivity emerged as salient causes for concern. Many teachers were able to create online versions of their courses. Others had to overcome their poor digital literacy and severe technological and infrastructural challenges in creative ways. Strategies included printing out activities and sending them to students and communicating via phone calls or instant messaging apps. A few had to temporarily suspend their teaching. In the face of inconsistent, unclear or non-existent government support, most rural teachers have shown their commitment, resilience and resourcefulness. They took control and responsibility for their professional development by seeking ways to fill the gaps in their knowledge and continue supporting their learners. Recommendations for institutional authorities and policy makers are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-268
Number of pages16
JournalOnline Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


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