Jan Mathews

Jan Mathews

Imagine a classroom where you have the privilege of collaborating with another educator every day—this is exactly what I have experienced as a mentor in the RiSE Program. Being matched with an enthusiastic educator-in-training makes the classroom a full-time learning experience for both participants. Add to that, having an additional set of hands for a small group to review foundational skills or practices so often lacking in our rural, migrant population, and you have a recipe for success. I have had the opportunity to mentor three residents and introduce them to my community. These are a special set of graduate students who, without exception, have found a second home in our small community.

Some of my seventh and eighth graders don’t have the basic supplies (or a backpack to carry them in), but I am inspired and amazed on a daily basis by the grit and perseverance my students DO bring with them to school. It means that I too have to bring my “A-game” every day. Knowing that I have a RiSE candidate to share this responsibility with is not only a comfort to me, but a gift for our students.

Teaching in a rural setting has unique challenges and opportunities—my hopes for the students we serve is that they immerse themselves in their education, allow it to shape and grow them into learners who will value the uniqueness of their community. I want them to know what a very special place they come from—and that their individuality is the main ingredient in this, their own success

I am a Rural Teacher