Matt Eddy

Aristotle the Ag Teacher?

Blog Post created by Matt Eddy on May 2, 2012

Aristotle is credited with the following:


"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."


As I sit here monitoring my obligatory study hall assignment, I wonder, educationally, what we are turning out?  Frankly, anyone who thinks teaching is easy ought to try it in May.  A bright, sunny, temperate May.  The Seniors are dressed like they are going to the beach (probably just preparing for their future lives), just finished a impromptu water-fight in the parking lot (receiving scowls from teachers and sanctions from administrators); the juniors are wishing they were seniors and are furiously scribbling crib notes for next year's hi-jinx.  The sophmore's are chatting and the freshman are wondering what all the fuss of finals is all about... and I am not so naive to think that this scene isn't being played out in schools across the nation to some degree. 


Where is this leading?  I would be lying if I said I knew.


But as that quote from Aristotle bumps around in my head, I wonder.  Are today's youth being encouraged to think critically?  Drill and press all you like, but a nation of lemmings is not something I wish to foster unto my nation, much less my state and even much less my community. 


Is my Ag program positioned to contribute significantly to the future workforce?  Is Ag Ed across the nation ready to meet this challenge? 


In the past couple weeks, I have toured three major global agricultural companies (located within a proverbial stone's throw) from my school.  Toured them with dignitaries, the 9th most important man in our United States Government (A prize if you know the reference), and other various VIP's - and not once did I hear anything about better test scores.


In fact, I specifically asked "What do you look for when you hire people?"


Almost verbatim:


"We want to hire you for your brain, not your brawn - we have machines that do the physical parts of this job.  We need people that can operate the machines, think and solve problems."



"We want creative thinkers, people who have varied and interesting backgrounds and want to make a difference, contribute to something - not just collect a paycheck."



"We want to hire collaborative workers - people who can communicate and work with others.  You can be the smartest person in the world, but if you can't communicate it - it's no good."



So after visiting these places and hearing these thoughts on what kind of workers they are looking for -- I wonder how I can prepare my students for these eventualities of their future.  'Cause with a little luck - they will find themselves at these very successful and wonderful places to work.


One thing is for sure -- it's something I may not find on a standardized test.


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