First quarter of the year is in the books...well, at least most of the grades that are supposed to be there are. Back a week now since National Convention. Rolling the clocks back is the insult to the injury of jet lag. About to certify 50 freshmen in the safe operation of agricultural equipment. Gearing up to host a district ag sales event. T-shirt order is wrapping up Round 1. Probably should get that plant order in...
With this sort of line-up staring you in the face, there is but one recourse: college game day. Road trip. Tailgater.
Oregon has one agricultural education teacher preparation program (and a darn good one), so it's no surprise the great majority of our ag teachers are Beaver Believers (and we don't speak to the rest). Our district's cohort of teachers decided earlier this year (read: the first weekend after school started) that an adviser retreat was in order for the fall. We made that happen this past weekend with a great day of get-out-of town with a visit to the Alma mater and a day of barbecued beef and socializing. It ended up we couldn't all make it, but those that did made it a good one.
Sometimes you can get wrapped in the day-to-day and forget about the long haul. And if you want to keep everyone on the bus with you positive and working well together, then making the time to take the time to reinvest in the personal as well as professional relationships you have with your colleagues is key. I work with the other ag teachers in our district as much as some of the teachers in my building, and rather more than most of the rest. And clearly, all you need is the right orange-black attire, a pop-up tent, and a rusty barrel smoker and you are in business.
But the good times didn't end there on Saturday. Allow me to to quote our very own Dr. Greg Thompson, Ag Ed department head at ol' OSU, from the email he sent out over the OVATA listserv this morning:
"During the Arizona State game, I looked up at the jumbotron at halftime and there were some rough looking rascals from the Umpqua District with Benny the Beaver. It was Kate Crawford, Braden Groth, Charlie Vandehey, Wes Crawford and Brian Arp, proudly displaying the Oregon Beef Council's Tailgater of the Game Award. It sounded and looked like a true Beaver Classic Tailgater. Congratulations to the Umpqua 'Ag Teacher Tailgater' for their display and salesmanship in Tailgating." And then he said something about OSU Ag Ed receiving prestigious awards, etc. etc.
Haha yep. So there we were enjoying the extremely pleasant not-rainy weather in Corvallis, and had accumulated a bit of a crowd of friends and visitors, when a group from the Oregon Beef Council came by looking for tailgaters serving beef. They said that if we let them sample some of the cookin' they'd consider us for the OBC Tailgater of the Game Award. We retorted that if they could identify the primal cut, they could have a sample.
We're ag teachers. What do you expect?
But in the end, some great smoked Beef - Chuck - Clod Heart (yeah we didn't recognize it either, but it was cheap; again - we're teachers) with a bring-it-on attitude won the day, as did the boys on the gridiron, and indeed it was a bunch of ag teachers mugging on the big screen in Reser Stadium.
Overall, just another day in the life of an ag teacher: camaraderie, good friends, cooked beast, and a story to tell afterwards. Can't beat that.
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