By McKenzie Campbell
I went to Yorkwood, Illinois elementary school, which was a very small country school until it consolidated with the United School District; which still is a small country school, but much larger than Yorkwood was. I come from a working -class family, and I understand what it is like growing up in a rural community and going to a rural school. I have seen first-hand what the struggles of these schools can be, and I’ve also seen the successes. I plan to stay around Monmouth after graduation because this is where home is for me, and I want to give back to the community that has shaped me for the past 20 years. The teachers that I interacted with during my time at United instilled in me a love for learning. They also taught me to be compassionate and caring.
The extra training offered by TARTANS will help me better understand rural schools and the students in them. I know growing up in a rural school, I sometimes felt like I missed out on some things, but I also know I gained a lot that others did not. I hope to learn how to be able to give students all they deserve out of a school in a rural community. This opportunity will give me the chance to do that. I have experienced a lot of hardships in my life already, and I can relate and empathize with students because I’ve been through terrible things, too.
I also want to teach in a rural school because of the close student teacher relationships that are formed. Going to a rural school I really got to know my teachers, and they knew me. When bad things would happen in my life, I felt comfortable talking to my teachers about it because we had a relationship. If our classes were bigger than they were, this might not have been the case. Rural schools offer a close knit, family community feeling that is much harder to accomplish when there is a larger number of students.
A rural school is where I see myself teaching for the rest of my life. Rural schools need good teachers, and I hope that I can be one for a rural district. Being a part of the TARTANS program means being a part of a bigger rural schools initiative and collaborate with others. The TARTANS program at Monmouth College is only the beginning for future teachers like me.