The figures of the teacher, nurse, soldier and police officer feature prominently in textbooks and in the aspirations articulated by children in remote rural settings. These occupations represent the category of educated, salaried and uniformed employment, the promised reward for education which is particularly powerful in remote rural areas. The occupations are, however, represented as static endpoints and children do not learn what they entail or how to access them. Realistic rural occupations are largely absent from textbooks or may be represented in an alienating fashion. Efforts to broaden occupational horizons through representations need enforcement by teachers in order to be recognised as actual options by students in remote rural areas.