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Written By

Rachelle McCabe


College of Arts, Society and Education

Publish Date

14 March 2023

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Rural move gets an A+ from JCU Education grad

JCU Education Alumni Lauren Krause credits her own outstanding teachers for inspiring her into the education system.

The dedicated Emerald primary school teacher says she was a victim of bullying at her schools while growing up in Mackay. Lauren says if it wasn’t for a handful of caring and approachable teachers, she doesn’t know how she would have made it through those difficult years.

“Teachers have always been my superheroes,” she says. “For me, they were someone I could go to, someone I could trust.”

Now in her third year as a teacher at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in the Central Highlands hub of Emerald, Lauren is thriving.

“Every year it is cemented that teaching is the right fit for me. My first year I had to struggle through the COVID-19 lockdowns. That was tough, but I got through relatively unscathed in an unfamiliar rural community where I knew nobody,” Lauren says.

“Last year, things were getting back to normal, so we were able to do a lot more and I felt like I was becoming part of the community. This is now my fourth year in Emerald and I’m working as a year five teacher, so, that’s added another new aspect for me.”

Lauren Krause with two friends outside at the races.
Lauren Krause with two friends outside.
Lauren with her castmates in Chicago.
Lauren says her life in Emerald has provided her with plenty of friends as well as great social opportunities, from attending the races to participating in local stage productions. (Supplied by Lauren Krause.)

Go west, get rewarded

Lauren says moving to Emerald wasn’t her first or even second choice when she was job hunting after graduating from JCU with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) in 2019.

But she has since fallen in love with the town, the local people, and the career and social opportunities that have come her way since relocating.

“I like to describe Emerald in three words; country, sunsets and silence; it’s heaven.”

JCU Education Alumni Lauren Krause

“To be honest, I wanted to work in Mackay or Sarina after I graduated, but in saying that, I was happy to work anywhere in the Rockhampton Diocese. I think Emerald is probably one of the best places I could have relocated to — I’m not planning on moving anytime soon. I have made some lifelong friends and the families out here are just gorgeous.”

From outback races, a singing side-hustle, and starring roles in local theatre productions, Lauren says she leads a dream lifestyle in the rural hub. And she urges other graduating teachers to make the move.

“My principal gave me a wonderful piece of advice, he said ‘make sure you make an effort out here, because if you don’t you will struggle. Go out and do things, go out for dinner, do the events, don’t go back home every weekend’.

“That really stuck with me — that piece of advice should be given to anybody living rurally. Don’t worry that you are going to miss something at home; take the time to become part of the community.”

Lauren says rural communities like Emerald set up graduate teachers for success, offering an abundance of support and professional development opportunities.

“Don’t be scared to put the rural option down, you will likely get more support than you will anywhere else,” she says. “It’s a great lifestyle for young people because you can go to the races, you can go to the rodeos, you can do all the fun things.

“Yes, it’s going to be a little bit of an adjustment, yes, I wish I had a Kmart, or an Officeworks, but you get used to it, you adapt. I don’t have any plans to leave at this stage. In fact, I’m considering doing more study, so I’ll probably be out here for a few more years.”

Lauren Krause smiling while holding the mock graduation certificate her friends made for her.
Lauren Krause throwing her graduation cap at the unofficial graduation ceremony her friends held.
Lauren's school thew her a mock graduation ceremony when she was unable to attend her official JCU ceremony due to work commitments. (Supplied by Lauren Krause.)

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