Regional life becomes family life for Rachael
As a young, single university graduate Rachael was looking for a permanent teaching position when she accepted a posting as an instrumental music teacher at Dalby State High School.
However, it turned out she found something even more permanent in her new regional home – a husband and two children.
Rachael was fresh from finishing her university degree in Brisbane in 2003 and was keen to stay close to family on the Gold Coast, but with the offer of permanency she decided to make the move to Dalby, a three-hour drive away.
"It was certainly a daunting decision for me, but one I was nervously looking forward to. In my head, I was going for a few years and then I would apply for a transfer back to the city. That was 10 years ago!
"Once the school year started, I met other first year staff and there were lots of second and third year staff my age, so I quickly made loads of friends. Small towns have regular local events and there were plenty of social gatherings," said Rachael.
A few years into her Dalby life, Rachael had a nice amount of money saved from living in teacher accommodation and was contemplating whether to stay in town or apply for a transfer.
"Living costs are lower in rural areas and so are house prices, even though they have increased significantly lately due to mines and gas fields, they are still a lot lower than the city. The drive to the coast is an easy one, I had made some very good friends and had been adopted into lots of families, so I chose to buy a house and stay.
"Not long after, Todd (who I'd met through mutual friends at a local race day), and I became more than friends and the rest, as they say, is history! We are now married and have a 3-year-old daughter and a 16-month-old son. Family life is lovely as there are lots of country events and activities to take them to.
"The thing I love most about Dalby is the community. Everyone knows your name and there is always someone to help out when needed."
Rachael's advice to any graduate or teacher thinking about rural life is not to fear change and to embrace the difference and opportunities offered.
"The place you live is what you make of it. Rural living is very different but also very fun. You meet lots of people, see lots of places as you attend festivals and events in neighbouring towns, and save money to go on trips and holidays of your own as living expenses are much lower.
"There are always other teachers in your situation and lots of support and lots of opportunities for growth both personally and professionally," said Rachael.
Feeling inspired? Find out more about rural and remote teaching incentives and school locations in Queensland.
Article originally published on Teach Queensland News and Jobs, February 2016.