By Joshua Talley
Before attending Monmouth College, I had the privilege of attending the Ball-Chatham school district. Located in Chatham, IL the school district included students from Chatham, parts of Springfield, and a few small rural communities from the surrounding area. This made for a unique mix of students from various backgrounds which allowed me through my own educational experience to get to know many unique individuals. I enjoyed my time in the Ball-Chatham school district and I am truly blessed to be taught by so many wonderful teachers, coaches, and role models that instilled a love for learning and developing children into promising adults.
Many of the schools surrounding my district were made up of rural communities. This past summer I was a volunteer football coach at Auburn High school. Auburn, Il is south of Springfield, past Chatham and is a rural community with a lot of pride for its school and their athletic programs. Along with that, the past three summers I have been working at a daycare with children from pre-k ages up to 4th graders. Both experiences have been great learning opportunities for me and have motivated me more to become an educator. It was a combination of my upbringing and my experiences at Auburn High school and the daycare that inspired me to join the TARTANS program when the opportunity arose.
While attending Monmouth College I have learned more than I could imagine about living in rural community and through my field experiences I have learned much about teaching in a rural school. Monmouth, Il is a very unique rural community and has taught me to draw upon the strengths of my students as well as the community to create a more meaningful learning experience for myself and my students. As a I finish up my fall semester of my senior year and begin preparing for student teaching, I feel as though that the TARTANS program will provide me many opportunities to improve as an educator and to find a community in which I will enjoy my time teaching while having a meaningful impact on that community and my future students.