*Parents/students related to this blog are ok with me sharing stories.*
This post has little to do with my classroom or a CDE, but everything to do with how amazing it is to be an agriculture teacher and be a part of a student's life.
A year ago Monday on February 11, 2012, one of my students in Livestock Management - Taylor - got in his truck leaving work, and was in a fatal car accident. He was one of the most kind-hearted young men I have ever had the pleasure of teaching. He participated in the Soil Judging CDE and attended FFA Camp with us. He was also the youngest person to be certified through the Tennessee Master Beef Program. Most of our school knew him and anyone who did was his friend. He was thought of and remembered during the past year, but especially yesterday. When Taylor was a freshmen, his Agriscience class wrote personal creeds to coincide with the studying of the FFA Creed. This is what he wrote, with bits and pieces of a letter he wrote to Temple Grandin taped to it (two papers I still had of his).
Clements in Doyle, TN. Hopefully when members sit and enjoy their time at camp, they'll learn a little bit about him. I am proud of how FFA members ALWAYS rally as a family and support each other.
Now I know this is a heavy topic (and for any pre-service teachers, know that the majority of your days are fun-filled and lighthearted), but I bring it up to share with you another story: On Monday (the one year anniversary of Taylor's passing), one of my officers who is pictured above was in an accident on her way to school. She is safe (and back at school today!) - but when I think of how easily the outcome could have been different, I am so thankful that her seat in my room was not empty for long. (The picture below is of her accident. She wasn't texting or anything, just reaching down to open a bottle.)
What we do as agriculture teachers is life-changing. We are charged with sending career-ready students into the world with the enthusiasm they had their freshman year coupled with the wisdom of a senior. We don't just prepared students for the real world, but arm them with tools and the mindset to be excited for it. Yet the small things matter, too. Talking with the students and hearing about their weekend plans each Friday, then getting an update each Monday. Knowing what animals students have and their names, and asking about them. Understanding the personalities of each of your unique students, and ensuring they all feel welcome and included. We cannot control what happens to a student once they walk out of our classroom, but we can make sure they are safe, loved and cared for when they are in the four walls of a classroom, shop, greenhouse, or barn.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to do that every day!