By Elizabeth Reasoner
When I was younger, pretending to be a teacher was a favorite pastime of mine. I was able to feel like the very teachers who had such a positive impact on my life and taught me much more than the required materials. My mother works as an instructional assistant, which allowed me to have a better understanding of what it takes to be a teacher from a young age.
These glimpses into the life of teaching have always stuck with me, affirming that this is the career I want to pursue. I decided to be a teacher once I realized that the most influential people in my life had always been the teachers who surrounded me. These are the people who have pushed me to be my best self.
While I want to be a teacher because I want to share my knowledge and passion of Spanish, I also hope to be able to help students along the way. Although I grew up in Indianapolis, I have had a love of rural areas my entire life. To me, being able to teach in a rural area means that I will be able to have a better relationship with my students. In my high school in Indianapolis, one teacher would have around 150 students that they saw every day. But in rural areas, these numbers drop significantly. I believe that by embracing these smaller class sizes, we are able to create a different teaching environment that is more focused on the individual students and what they need to succeed.
Being part of the TARTANS program will give me a better understanding of teaching in a rural area, while also giving me opportunities to better myself as a teacher. I believe that this rural-specific preparation will allow me to be better prepared to practice place-based education. Coming from a large city, it was always easy to forget about the local culture and dynamics, but in rural communities this is often the glue holding people together.
By being conscious of where we are teaching, I believe that we are able to make better connections to our students which translates to improved teaching.