It's funny, I often pray, asking God to help me prioritize my time. There has been several times where I find myself asking him to add just a few more hours to my day to help me accomplish all the tasks I have left to get accomplished or the opportunity to add one or two more tasks to the list. It seems that we arrive at school 30 minutes to an hour early each day to prep for the day and no sooner then we can turn around the kids are loading the bus to head home. For nine months out of our year, a teacher lives by the bell. In my case, we have seven 50 minute classes, and 3 minute passing periods in between. As a teacher, when you teach from bell to bell, and you find out that three minutes flies by faster than you ever could imagine, you truly begin to build your bladder to withstand the toughest of times. During the school year, you definitely train your mind and body to function different.
I teach in a small rural town, where most of my FFA members are involved in every other activity on campus. With this in mind, this leads to challenges in my scheduling, especially for after school practices for FFA. Over the years I have began to solve some of my problems by joining my kids with their sports. I coach Junior High football, Junior Varsity basketball as well as assist the Varsity basketball coach. Although this might seem like a tremendous time burden, it has truly helped me in scheduling my FFA practices and has helped my relationships amongst our coaching staff and more importantly my kids. As you can begin to see, most of our after school practices are now after sports practices which are now starting at 5:00pm or 6:00pm.
In New Mexico, we as ag teachers do not specialize in any given area of FFA, so we find ourselves working five to six seasons out of the year in FFA. At the beginning of the school year, starting in March or April from the previous year until the first of October, we are in our showing season. (Those that have show cattle started as early as October from the previous year) After our show season we move on to our Creed and Quiz season throughout the months of November and December, followed by our parliamentary procedure season in December and January. Next we take part in our Public speaking season usually held in February, and finally wrap our school year up with our intense Career Development Event season. Most ag programs in our state start their CDE event practices in early February and last until the first of April. Many of our ag teachers will work 14 to 15 hours a day preparing their 10 to 15 different CDE events for the state and national contests. Lastly, the months of April and May are spent filling out National Chapter Awards, planning and preparing for banquets, and getting kids ready for state FFA convention and FFA Leadership Camp held in June.
Although this seems like so much, when you love what you do, all this works seems like fun. When you absolutely love and have a passion for what you are doing, the hours and work load seems like nothing. I am truly blessed to have a job that I love and kids that truly appreciate the time and effort you spend with them.