Tap tap tap – Is this microphone still on?
Well hello there. You, like my students after National FFA/NAAE Convention, may not recognize me due to my prolonged absence. I am supposed to be one those Day in the Life bloggers, you see. My name is Wes.
In my defense, I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite some time. Even picked out the title in mid-March. Have had about 40 different possible opening lines mentally composed during idle drives between locations, minus those times the speakerphone has been operating on my phone. And then of course there were all the different topics I considered shareable.
- Hello from Canada, Eh! (We took an FFA team to Ontario, Canada to compete in the North American Envirothon last July)
- That One Time We Ate Chicago Style Pizza in Chicago…at 3am (Flying to national convention didn’t go as planned)
- What Happens When You Put Three Hundred Ag Education Advocates at the Table? (Our ag teacher association hosted 14 round table town hall meetings across the state in October and November)
- Everything is Easier the Second Time, Right? (Our daughter arrived in February, bringing the home-child population count to two – man-to-man coverage now. I’m sure I’ll be writing about this more than once later on. Yes, I will write later!)
- Results Happen When Hard Work Happens (Our students had a great state convention in March competing in leadership CDEs after a long winter of prep)
So now it is June, and I write this in the final minutes of the last day of the school year. But I am going to get it posted, so it counts in this school year. I am only 90% failing in my authoring duties here. But know that it is my fault, not yours. I am delinquent in the most pressing advice I give my fellow teachers in Oregon: to be sure to tell your story of the great things your program is doing for your students.
But what a year it has been. On the ag ed front, the best part of 2017 will be that – in comparison – 2018 should be much more laid back. I have been cursed with good kids who do great work, and have gotten amazing results. So while we may be hustling around National Convention next fall, it is a good problem to have.
On top of all this, the ag teacher corps here in ORE have been sprinting a marathon as the legislative session carries on. Three years of planning, preparation, and discussion have culminated in a busy legislative session advocating for increased resources for FFA and Ag Education. Naturally, we have found ourselves seeking funding in a year when our state is facing a $1.4 billion shortfall thanks to rapidly rising expenses to go with the increasing revenue of an improving economy, but what fun would it be if it was easy?
Despite the uphill climb, it has been gratifying to see the outpouring of support for ag education and the demonstration of ability of our students in this process. We put hundreds of blue jackets in front of legislators during capital visit days, was complimented on excellent testimony in legislative hearings, and recognized for the strong and statewide presence our supporters have shown during Legislative Road Show meetings across Oregon. While we are 28 days away from the deadline (but who's counting), and the final result is still very much up in the air, we can take pride in the way our Agriculture Teachers Association and communities have elevated the presence and prominence in our state, from our smallest communities to the most densely populated metropolitan areas.
So, here’s hoping the Submit button still works in this column (CoP management has probably forgotten I still have a proverbial key, really), and that I can get this post in to count on my tenth year of teaching (a fact breaking betting pools across the land). It was not long ago that I challenged my seventh year to bring it on, and those wide-eyed freshmen students just walked the graduation stage last week. It really takes no time at all.
Enjoy the summer all, and make the most of it to sharpen the saw for next year! We'll see you in year 11.