Simone White (2015) of Monash University has argued in “Extending the knowledge base for (Rural) Teacher Educators” that we need to move away from the ‘unhelpful rural-urban binaries’ that we so often get caught up in. Instead we need to make the rural not a secondary add in, but an integral ‘activist, generative and transformative response for teacher education.’
This has given me cause to reflect on that key word that I trip over in my research title, every time. It has become a little like the ‘dirty’ word in conversation around research, writing and PhD in an EDU space.
“Oh, rural,” they gasp.
“Yes, rural. Ahem.”
The R word has become for me what I encountered with the F word back int he 90s. It meant different things to different people. It was easier to react to the negative, common perceptions of the word than to understand how to apply and live it. The F word, feminism was being reformed and refashioned by Gen Xs everywhere. Whilst it is still central to my thinking and reasoning, the R word is demanding more of my attention.
So let me be clear.
I grew up in a rural place.
I actively left the rural place.
I found my way back to a rural space, for pragmatic reasons.
The rural space has defined, challenged and changed me. It has isolated parts of who I am and placed restraints on who I might be, but it has enhanced and enabled me to find myself.
The ‘R’ word has made me see more clearly.