Everyone knows we build relationships with those who we have things in common. In high school you were probably friends with the people you played sports with, were in clubs with, or had similar social interests. College friends we keep in contact today were yesterday's roommates, classmates, (barmates?), and others time was well spent with. So it's no surprise that ag teachers - as a rule - build strong relationships with one another.
In our part of the world, the ag teacher network is legendary. New potential administrator? You call the ag teacher who had that admin last year and get the 411 (or the...details). Not sure how to prepare for a certain CDE or teach a new topic? Email the recognized 'expert' in that area. We know more people in other schools than just about any other teacher - and we are stronger for it. Do you ever hear your math teachers talk about the great time they had at the math in-service with all the other math teachers? We get along, we work together, we share the same schedules, we teach the same things, we have the same challenges, and we vacation in Indianapolis together in the fall.
My fellow ag teachers are helping me pull the fat out of the fire on a daily basis. The week before National Convention was occupied with our State Soils CDE, a short 3.5 hour drive away. Living on the west side of Oregon, the kids were excited (well, cautiously intrigued?) to journey to the rain shadow eastern aspect of the Cascade Mountains. We on the wet/west side of Oregon liken the east side to...the Sahara Desert: sandy, dry, and sparsely populated. And if those are the only criteria, we're spot on. But leaving at 6am meant a couple things got left at home on my desk - like the soils manuals. Probably important. A quick cell phone call along the way and my able ag teaching colleague Ben meets us at his classroom at 7am as we drive through his community and lets me borrow a copy. Fat secured.
I am proud to be part of the ag teacher network. Professional developments are three-quarter workshop, one-quarter family reunion. This month has offered us Oregon ag teachers several opportunities to get together, with our state association's fall in-service, National Convention, and a state CDE. Growing as a teacher comes from conversation, sharing, and commiserating together. If you aren't taking part in these sorts of things, find a way to. I get a lot out of technical content workshops for curriculum and program components, and I get so much more out of the continued interaction and relationship building with my fellow ag teachers. Don't miss out on the next chance you get to spend some time with our colleagues; I hear there is a big get together in Nevada coming up in a month. I hope to see you there.
I'll need someone to hang out with.
Challenge: Comment below and tell how your colleagues have helped/influenced you!