So you wanna teach in a small town, eh?
As an English education Major…as an education major, period, there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to where you want to teach. I like to divide them into a few categories: suburban, rural, inner-city, and top-notch schools (which can be found in either of the other categories.)
Growing up in the inner-city, I’ve always felt it was my calling to return back home when it was my time to teach. I’ve consistently felt the urge to give back to my community, to show those students love who don’t always receive it at home, and to build relationships there.
I have always known where I want to be, as far as teaching-wise, but I had to be sure. Thus, I found myself venturing off, with the education department, to the South West, Kansas (a good 6 and a half hours away…with a few stops, of course.)
As a sophomore, this was a little out of my comfort zone. I haven’t been accepted into the education program, and yet, I was attending a Common Core* meeting with hundreds of other teachers. It was bananas! I could imagine being right there–in that audience full of teachers- in a few years when I receive my teaching diploma and graduate from college. I wasn’t anywhere close to home, but, somehow, this felt like home to me.
I’m not gonna lie, I hadn’t been there for more than three hours when I, along with two other students, were offered a job. We were all stunned. This guy didn’t even know us, but he was willing to take down our name, number, and set up an interview with his superintendent. Sadly, we had to pass up the job offer because, frankly, neither one of us were in the position to be teaching other people.
Surprisingly, I liked the rural town a lot. The longer I stayed there, the quicker I found myself adjusting to the life style (well, sort-of.) On the last day, in the middle-of-nowhere-Kansas, I had the chance to tour a few different schools, and for a short moment, I could almost in-vision myself staying in that little town forever.
The principles, and superintendents were awesome, and I wouldn’t mind working side-by-side with them. They even joked of marrying us off if I, or any other student, came to work there. They said they were joking, but we all knew they were quite serious about it. If I could keep a fantastic teacher in my school district, I’d find them a spouse, and keep them in my town forever, too!
But every rural district has its pros and cons
-People are friendly (But seriously, I’m not even kidding. They welcomed us with open arms.)
-There’s land everywhere
-Class sizes aren’t too large. (There’s less distractions, and easier to get through an entire lesson plan.)
-Christianity is openly communicated. (Which is stinkin amazing!)
-The cost of living was cheaper. ( I was practically sold on that alone. Two-hundred dollars for rent–that’s heavenly.)
-It’s easier to build relationships with students.
-There’s too much land. (If land sickness was possible, I probably would have caught that.)
-Some class sizes are way too small. (At an elementary school I had visited, the fourth grade class had four girls. Just imagine if half of your class was gone with the flu.)
-It smelled like animal everywhere!
-It was too far from home.
-teachers had extra duties. (such as coaching, or teaching after school classes, etc.)
After processing this information, I knew, for sure, that a small town wasn’t for me.
By the end of the trip, I missed the city so much, and once I was back in Olathe, I couldn’t imagine being in a small town ever again.
The rural setting isn’t for everyone–it definitely wasn’t for me–but I’m glad I had the opportunity to do such thing. The trip opened my eyes to new ideas, and I was given the chance that many other students don’t have.
If the opportunity to travel with the education department every arises, I suggest you take it and run!
It’s almost a one-in-a-lifetime kind of thing!
As always, talk to you next week!
*The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a U.S. education initiative that seeks to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following the principles of standards-based education reform
For more Common Core info: http://www.corestandards.org/