HomeRural Teacher CorpsPre-Test, Mid-Term; A First-Year Rural Teacher Makes The Grade

Pre-Test, Mid-Term; A First-Year Rural Teacher Makes The Grade

Albert Bryant is a first-year mathematics teacher in tiny Everton, Missouri, his hometown.  A graduate of Drury University, Albert was in the inaugural class of the Ozarks Teacher Corps, an effort dedicated to encouraging outstanding teacher prospects to return to their rural home communities as teachers.  The Ozarks Teacher Corps is funded by the Community Foundation of the Ozarks’ Rural School Partnership and provides participants with a $4,000 per year scholarship, seminars on rural education issues, and a variety of networking opportunities. 

Albert is one of six spring 2011 graduates who were hired for rural Ozarks’ classrooms.  One other student was dismissed from the program for non-participation, and another returned their scholarship after accepting a position in an urban school.  Albert and his colleagues have been featured in Education Week, USA Today, School and Community, and they have become ambassadors for rural schools.  The program currently includes 25 future teachers from Drury, Missouri State University, and Evangel University.  The second class is comprised both of December ’11 and May ’12 graduates.

As an Ozarks Teacher Corps alum, Albert was eligible for and received a place-based education classroom grant from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.  His project, setting up a student-run computer repair service for folks in Everton, exemplifies the best of place-based principles.  Not only do Albert’s students receive hands-on experiences in applying classroom learning, and they are providing a service in a small town where none previously existed.

Albert’s “pre-term” and “mid-term” are both available in this online feature.  The short film was shot prior to the fall term, and Albert discusses his rationale for returning to his hometown and what he hopes to accomplish.  The essay below was written in December, and in it he assesses his year to date.

The Mid-Term:  A Personal Essay

My name is Albert Bryant. I am a graduate of the Ozarks Teacher Corps and have been serving at Everton High School in Everton, Missouri as a mathematics teacher for grades 8-12. This is my first year teaching, and I must say, it has been one roller coaster of a ride. Over the past 3 months I've felt many emotions, learned many things, taught many things and overall, lived life to the fullest. They say teaching is difficult but I never realized just how difficult until I actually did it. 
     Everton is a small rural community located in the heart of the Great Plains. I teach at Everton because I love the community, and I see the potential that the community has to achieve great things. As a new teacher I am learning about the teaching profession, but I have already started to influence those around me. In our staff book study there has already been talk about changing the attitude of students who view the small community negatively. Alongside learning to teach, I have also been working directly with a couple of great mentors.
      One of the great needs in our community is technology. With me as a starting point (and my mentors’ guidance) we have devised a plan to help meet the needs of the community, school, and students. Our plan is to harness the power of the small group for these goals: to save the community money, teach the students valuable skills, and benefit the school technologically. So as a new teacher, I am very busy.
     In short I have been building relationships, learning to teach, teaching mathematics, and busy planning! I enjoy teaching students new skills, and will also enjoy giving back to the community where I came from. I hope to enrich and build the community up. To quote Tom Petty, I'm learning to fly!