Rebecca Czajkowski, Seneca Falls, NY

Rural teachers are "engaged citizens" in their communities

June 25, 2020 |
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Growing up in the suburbia of the tri-state area, I was barely aware of the rural Finger Lakes region of New York State, let alone pictured myself one day settling here. I couldn’t be more glad that my own education led me here, as I am so proud to be a rural teacher. To me, being a rural teacher as opposed to being in a suburban or urban setting means the understanding that my efforts are not only directed to bettering my students and enabling them to achieve success both academic and personal, but also towards enriching the community I’m in. Like many rural districts, the community I teach in now, Seneca Falls, is multi-generational and proud of their local history, and these factors have significantly shaped the local culture and expectations of schooling.

The multi-generational nature of rural areas makes it important for educators to consider themselves representatives of school in a manner that builds trust with local families. This happens by teaching curriculum that will make sure students are on par with national standards, but also by providing resources for the entire community and building and maintaining relationships with local organizations. Therefore, I am not just a teacher in Seneca Falls– I’m an engaged citizen of Seneca Falls as well.

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