Abigail Parker, Kindergarten Teacher
Coloma Elementary School in Coloma, WI
I grew up in Belmont, WI. I went to a K-12 school and was very used to the smaller rural setting. I loved the connections I was able to make with my teachers and I was even able to be a teacher helper in the elementary classrooms once I was in high school. Then in college, I was able to do practicum hours in districts around Platteville, WI (also rural). I found a love for the rural schools and knew I wouldn't want to teach in a big city. I started applying to a lot of rural schools (there were tons of openings) and this is how I landed in Coloma. A very tiny town with a wonderful school!
One thing I noticed right away is how everyone cares for each other. In a small community, you get to know quite a few people in a short period. Currently, we are planning for a backyard school bash at the end of the year. The teachers and PTO put in tons of work to make this happen. It is not only for the school but for the community. Recently, our community had a Hop Around Coloma event where people from the community came out. These events are very well attended. This year we won the Blue Ribbon award which I think says a lot about my little school!
What excites me the most about the YEA Council is creating connections with other young educators in rural areas across the country. As a first-year teacher, there are many times I have felt alone. Rural areas tend to be less populated, thus fewer people are going through my exact situation. I currently teach in a small community and I am longing for more connections with other educators teaching in similar areas as I am. I also see you do some global outreach which also excites me as I would love to create international connections well.
The Young Educators' Advisory Council is an initiative for early career rural teachers. These young educators will serve RSC as advisors to strengthen our mission in the recruitment, preparation, and retention of rural teachers. YEA council members will serve for two years engaging in online conversations.