Next week is Thanksgiving, which means that it's the time of the year where I always take some time to reflect on all of the things that I am thankful for in my life. This year I am fortunate to have many wonderful things to be thankful for. First and foremost, I am thankful for the fact that my family and friends made it through Hurricane Sandy without losing their lives or their homes. Some of them had damage to their homes and possessions from the storm, but they will be able to repair and replace what was lost. Due to widespread power outages (our entire county was out as was most of our state!), we lost a week of school, but that too can be easily fixed and made up. Our beaches also had damage, but with time they too, will be replenished and restored for all to enjoy. Hurricane Sandy took so much away from so many, but thanks to the sense of community and the fighting that we have here in New Jersey, we will rebuild and restore our shore and our communities in no time!
The calm after the storm - the beach a few days after Hurricane Sandy.
The next thing I am thankful for is my family. Without them and their love and support, I would never have gotten to where I am in my life. They are always there to support through good and bad, give advice, and listen when I need them to, even if it does involve me whining and complaining. While they might not understand what exactly it is that I do as an ag teacher, they are proud of me for choosing this career and for that, I am truly grateful.
I am also thankful to have a job that I absolutely LOVE! Teaching ag was not my first choice or even a profession I imagined myself having (more on that in another blog post), but it became the best decision I ever made. Not everyday is all roses and sunshine, but I honestly look forward to going into work every morning. As ag teachers, we have the power to make a real difference in the lives of young people and in our communities, and that is an awesome thing. We also get to have a lot of fun while we work and aren't stuck doing the same things everyday. I 100% love what I do, and I am very lucky to have a job that I am so passionate about!
Some of my students representing our program at the district's annual School/Student Recruitment Fair
The Ag Science program display at the fair.
Being an FFA advisor is another thing I am thankful for. I was never an FFA member myself, but as an advisor I have learned what a great organization it is and have come to enjoy being a part of it. I like being able to help my students grow as leaders and as people, develop their skills and knowledge through CDEs, and see them be rewarded for their hard work and effort. This week, we had our Fall CDEs and my students had our chapter's best showing in it's history! Our teams of 3 beat many teams of 4 in both CDEs, and had they had the additional member/score
(on our team of 4 in the one event, one of the kid's scantrons didn't read, so her score wasn't counted ) , they would have given the top placing teams a run for their money. Not only that, but all of FFA members individually finished in the top 50% or better in both events. I am beyond proud and thrilled with their performance, and it showed them that if they work hard, they can achieve great things. Now that they have the fire of success under them, I can't wait to see how they will apply it as we progress through the rest of the year!
Essex County Vocational Technical Schools FFA is in the house!
The final thing that I am thankful for is being a part of the ag teacher community on both the state and national level. We ag teachers are a close-knit group, and it is awesome how we work together to share information and help solve each other's problems. It is comforting to know that if I ever have a question or concern, I can post it on CoP and get an answer. In addition, it is also nice to have a group of people to share my experiences with and know that they will understand what I am going through. Thank you so much for letting me share my story with all of you as a part of this blog. It means more than you will ever know.
I hope that all of you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving with your families and if you can, take a few minutes to reflect on the things in your life that you are thankful for. I look forward to seeing and meeting some of you in person at NAAE Convention in a little over a week, and can't wait to put names to faces! I'll give you s'Morey and a convention recap in a few weeks! Happy Turkey Day!
PS-I ran the Trenton Half Marathon last weekend as a part of NJ Team AG Ed! It was an awesome experience (especially since I set a new PR) and we are looking forward to our next race already!
A tired, but happy NJ Team AG Ed at the finish of the Trenton Half Marathon! (note that I represented FFA with pride for all 13.1 miles!)