McKenzie Campbell, 4th Grade Teacher
Hedding Grade School in Abingdon, IL
I am from a rural community that is kind of in the middle of two communities. My address growing up was Monmouth, IL, but I was actually much closer to a small town of about 300 people. I then decided to stay in Monmouth and went to Monmouth College. I liked that it was close to home (only 15 minutes into town from mychildhood home) and it was small. When I had to decide where to teach, I knew I was staying close to home. My family is very important to me and I knew I wanted to stay close to them. I applied to Abingdon-Avon, a few days later I interviewed on Zoom and then got my position an hour after my interview.I knew from the second I spoke with them that I was in a good place. This was where I was meant to be.
Social media, movies, TV shows and many of the things that children consume in this age almost romanticize leaving your home town for the big city. That is what makes you successful and that is what will make you happy. There is obviously nothing wrong with leaving your home town and/or moving to the big city. However, students need to see that that is not the only option nor is it always the best option. Teaching in a rural area gives you the opportunity to show students so many things about the world that they may not know, but also show them so many things about their community, their place, that they don't know. As someone from a rural community, teaching in a rural community, it shows my students that I'm successful, I'm happy, I do important things everyday, and I didn't go far from home/I stayed in a rural setting.
What excites me about joining the YEA Council is the opportunity to have a community of other teachers with similar goals and experiences. It also excites me to have the opportunity to help other teachers through their beginning years in this profession by sharing my experiences. There are joys and struggles in teaching and I hope to be able to share all of it - not JUST the good stuff. We obviously want to encourage people to go into teaching, however, there is a lot of toxic positivity in this field. Many believe that you cannot complain or have things you wish you could change or have a bad day. This career brings SO many amazing things, but I feel like part of the burn out issue is that young teachers don't know that it's not just them.
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.