We've got issues...
Ag Issues, that is. Spring semester is in full swing and we've focused on only a few CDEs including the Ag Issues Forum. This is in contrast to a couple of years ago when the goal was to attend to win each CDE that year. I'm finding myself more at ease with the quality over quantity. Our issue this year deals with Tennessee Walking Horses, so we had one of our presentations be made to an inspector who visited school.
I woke up early this Saturday morning to snow and conducted phone interviews for students in the East TN Job Interview contest. I loved that I was sitting on my recliner sipping on a cup of coffee (with bedhead and no makeup) and was still able to help FFA members! They were all impressive in their own way. Even though my student will be competing against two of them during State Convention, I was still very glad I got to give them feedback and help them improve.
Thursday night we competed in the Opening & Closing and Parliamentary Procedure events at our sectional level and despite not advancing, I'm always proud. The parli team is actually really awesome for how young they are, and I can see them being dynamite this time next year.
I also had 7 seniors qualify for the State FFA Degree that night, the most I've submitted at once. Keeping in mind that we have 75 members total, 9% received their State Degree and that's a number as a single teacher that I'm proud of.
In class, I still have the challenge of not being able to use any live animals for Vet Science or Small Animal Care due to county policy. As frustrated as I get, we find interesting and fun ways to overcome it. Today we began a week-long lesson on Pet Loss and Grief. This was something I wanted to talk about later in the year, after I heard about the passing of Barney (President George W. Bush's Scottish terrier), I thought this would be a great time to incorporate this interesting and useful lesson. We talked today about why losing a pet is so difficult, and the methods owners utilize to mourn a pet. Some interesting contributions included those who stuff/taxidermy their deceased pets!
We're also going to discuss the role a vet plays to a grieving pet owner and what steps they can take in a companion animal career to help people during that time. Tomorrow I plan to show them a site that specializes in pet loss cards from a vet, and then allow my students to design their own. Technology, English, and Ag all coming together; gotta love it!
Fetal pig dissections will begin Wednesday in Agriscience. This used to be an activity that I felt inept at but after having an awesome mentor my first year, it gets better and better each time. I have a challenging (but spirited and fun!) group of freshmen this year who need some extra motivation from time to time. I finally had to be firm and say that those who are missing assignments or failing will not be allowed to do the dissection; this brought all of the grades but 2 (out of 40 students) up to at least passing! Most were already very high Bs and As anyway. I love that they are being motivated by hands-on activities, even if the only animals we can play with right now are dead!
See you Wednesday, Babe!