In an effort to follow through on earlier promises, a few ideas come to mind when we talk about community. One of the most valuable parts of being an ag teacher - and often unrecognized by those outside the profession - is the ag teacher community.
Yesterday our chapter and community played host to the Sectional Leadership Career Development Events - about a quarter of the state's chapters bring the top two speakers from their district in each CDE on to determine who will make the top eight slate at the Oregon FFA State Convention in March. It's natural to slip right back into conversations, jokes, debates, and comraderie with teachers who haven't been seen since the last state event, NAAE Convention, or maybe not even since the August State Fair. It's easy to pick up - both the conversation, and the companionship.
It's both a benefit and testament to our profession that these relationships are the norm. There's no secret to becoming part of it: all you have to do is show up, listen a bit, share what's new with you, and before you know it you'll realize that 1) I'm not the only one with that [fill-in-the-blank] situation, 2) these people are hilarious and all they're drinking is coffee, and 3) the demands of ag ed are easier to handle when you are working with others, instead of trying to do it on your own.
Another way to be involved is to contribute - be part of your professional organization leadership. Take ownership of being an ag teacher by seeking a role in your state association or even beyond. It's a way to reconnect yourself as well as take your turn in serving your colleagues.
I invite you to get a bit of insight into our community here in Oregon - check out our state newsletter. It's not fancy, but it does have plenty of things that apply to you and the teachers in your area, not just those of us on the West Coast. Check out the latest issue of Old Yeller (theme: SAE), as well as a few past ones, by visiting http://www.ovata.org/old-yeller.html. You'll find best practices, professional development help, curriculum resources, some current events, cheesy humor, and more.
Besides, as the OVATA Newsletter Editor, I'd like to think someone is reading it.
Reader Response: you know what to do! Confirm the Ag Ed community in the comments!