School officially starts this Tuesday. With every new year, comes new changes. This year things are changing in a huge and exciting way. My big news?
I'm getting a student teacher! That's right, they are letting me mentor an aspiring teacher and teach them the tricks of the trade. Being entrusted to do this is a great honor, and I only hope I can do a great job.
I've already met my student teacher, and he's awesome. Not only does he have a true love of agriculture, but he has a genuine passion for sharing it with others. He is enthusiastic about exploring all of the facets of being an ag teacher, including learning to be an FFA advisor, and about utilizing the CASE curriculum. As for me, I'm equal parts excited and terrified by this new opportunity.
I'm excited to open my classroom to an aspiring ag teacher to allow them to experience the magic of our wonderful profession. I'm excited to share all the knowledge, tips, and tricks that I've learned over the years, and that others have passed on to me. I'm excited to allow them to learn how to be an FFA advisor and work with our FFA members. I'm excited to watch my student teacher succeed and their passion for teaching ag increase as the semester progresses. Most of all, I'm excited to be able to do my part in passing the torch of teaching ag to a future teacher who will hopefully be entering their very own classroom at this time next year.
On the other hand, I'm terrified that my student teacher will not have the amazing experience that they deserve. I'm terrified that I won't be able to be the mentor they need to succeed. I'm terrified that they will find student teaching to be a negative experience and that they will struggle more than necessary. Most of all, I'm terrified that at the end of their internship, they will choose not to continue on the path to becoming an ag teacher.
My own student teaching experience was not exactly a great one. My first placement ended up being a total disaster, and I was ultimately removed from it after a month and a half. I was left in limbo for several months after that as my program weighed the options of either removing me from the teaching track altogether, or finding me a new placement. Luckily, my guardian angel showed up just in time in the form of an ag teacher that I had never heard of before who volunteered to take me into his program for the remainder of my internship.
That teacher literally turned into my guardian angel. Under his tutelage, I bloomed, blossomed, and grew into a confident and competent ag teacher. Gone were all my insecurities about my ability to teach ag, and in their place, was a passion and excitement for the job. Because of him, my student teaching internship went from a total failure to a total success story.
You may wonder why I am sharing this story of my own experience. The reason? My former cooperating teacher is the university supervisor of my student teacher.
At first, I was unsure as to whether or not I was ready for a student teacher. When I heard how things were going to play out with my mentor being involved in the process, the answer was clear. He mentored me, now I have the opportunity to mentor my student teacher, and he will give the feedback needed to make everyone succeed. I couldn't have asked for a better sign that taking my student teacher was the right thing to do.
All of this reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies: "when someone does you a big favor, don't pay it back... pay it forward." My mentor went out of his way when I needed someone to help me be successful on my journey to becoming an ag teacher. The Teach Ag Campaign gave me this amazing opportunity to start sharing my teach ag story at a time when I was seriously considering quitting the profession. Had it not been for them doing me a big favor by believing in me and encouraging me to keep going, I would never be the ag teacher I am today. Now it's my turn to pay it forward and help new and future ag teachers.
Wishing you all the best as your begin another year!