Think back to a moment when you were inspired in regards to our profession of agricultural education. Recall the excitement you felt during and after the experience. And finally, as you think about this moment also think about the motivation that came over you. Have you ever had a moment like that?
I certainly have and it was the entire week at this year’s NAAE Convention! I have been back in the sunshine state for just at 1 week and I am truly missing convention and all of the wonderful people I met there.
One of the most memorable parts of convention for me was to witness the strength of the comrade between the Board of Directors, NAAE staff, the student staff and partners and sponsors of NAAE. So many times I saw individuals from each of these groups working together to ensure everything was running as seamlessly as possible. Everyone was gracious, patient and open-minded, even in the busiest of times and even doing the small things.
It was also incredible to see how pre-service teachers, such as myself, are indeed an important topic of convention. Sometimes it is difficult to be taken seriously because I have no teaching experience yet. Every single time I told an ag teacher or convention attendee that I was on staff and will be student teaching in the spring, I was always made to feel important and like what I will be doing truly matters, because as we all know it certainly does. And we all also know how critical it is to recruit more college students to pursue our profession.
If we don’t build those students up and provide them with experiences and opportunities to be apart of our organization, how can we expect them to want to teach agriculture?
I hope that my blogs will help contribute to bringing about a resolution for this and will add to the current efforts to recruit and retain teachers. Conversing with the other student staff about their student teaching experiences was also awesome to be apart of because we each will be teaching different courses, yet can relate to the same difficulties and triumphs throughout our college careers.
Between working for NAAE at National FFA Convention and now NAAE Convention, I have personally met and conversed with the numerous sponsors who not only provide funds, but valuable knowledge, products and relationships to both events. I would like to give a shout out to Belinda who graciously set up and facilitated the Lab Aids workshops, sponsored by DuPont, who loaded me up with a class set of the Red Light, Green Light workshop materials. You see, I will be teaching this lesson next Wednesday to a Biotechnology 2 course in Williston, FL. Because of her kindness I am able to provide this lesson with little costs and increased familiarity with the information presented. I am beyond excited to teach this lesson and I hope I make Mrs. Belinda, Scott and Cassie proud!
Alissa told me back over the summer that all of the work I put in during the internship would pay off at convention. She was exactly correct. My primary assignments dealt with the general session presentations and so I spent a great deal of time perfecting the PowerPoint’s and communicating with President, Greg Curlin and President Elect, Ken Couture to ensure we had a consistent and accurate routine.
I would also like to mention Greg and I's musical scheme to play Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” as it matched this year’s them. We, of course, also had to include some Journey and George Strait in the playlist as well! Along with those antics also included a wonderful prank we played on Ken. I am not looking forward to the payback we may receive next year!
I could write pages and pages about my week at the 2011 NAAE Convention. Yes, it was that awesome! I will close by saying that if any one person attends convention as either a teacher or staff member or workshop presenter or whatever and their goal is to further inspire and motivate another attendee, they certainly have. Every time someone from back home has asked me about my week in Missouri I think about how that week was unforgettable!
My passion for our profession is now stronger than ever thanks to the NAAE organization and the internship they selected me for, and therefore, the opportunity to work at convention this year. I am so grateful for all Jay, Alissa, Miranda, Julie, Amaris and Mrs. Linda have done for me. I cannot wait to attend next year’s convention as a teacher and have a reunion with everyone!
Thank you so much for reading this entry.