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Transitions

Posted by Cacee A. Ford May 8, 2012

Student Teacher -> Agriculture Educator

 

It seems like a simple transition. 

 

But, so far for me, there has been more to it than that.  Student teaching flew by and I miss my students, colleagues and work environment terribly.  While, I am ready to be in charge of my classroom, I am certainly missing the internship experience.   Also, graduating from UF has been a tremendous experience.  After being MIA from campus all semester and consistently telling myself, "I prefer my school over the chaos of campus life", I have quickly proven myself wrong.  There is something special about the UF campus atmosphere and all that it means.  The old saying has come true, "You don't miss until it is gone or over."   Part of me if very much sad to be moving away from my home for the past 4.5 years, UF. 

 

As I move forward to this next phase, I am constatnly reassuring myself of two things:

 

1. Great opportunities lie ahead.  Who doesn't get excited about finding that first teaching position?  It is exciting to think about revamping lessons and ideas from student teaching and creating and finding new lessons and ideas for an entire school year.

 

2. I will find a job.  I will find a job.  I will find a job.  I have chosen to live in north Florida and unfortunately, agriculture positions at the middle/ high school level are few and far between right now.  But, I have faith and trust in God that He has a plan for me here.

 

 

Life, for me, post- student teaching has been a whirlwind.  But, now that graduation is over and the job hunt begins, I know that I have to keep my head up and know that things will work out as they should.  I am so blessed to have had the interning experience that I did. It makes me feel even more blessed to have had several of my students and co- teacher attend my graduation ceremony and also when others have contacted me to tell me how much they miss my teaching.  Like I said, truly blessed. 

 

Sincerely,

Cacee A. Ford

  

 

Hey fellow CoP members!  Remember me, Cacee- the student blogger, or as my students like to call me, Ms. Ford?  ***SN:I still haven’t gotten used to being called Ms. Ford, just yet. ;D

 

Anywho, I wish to apologize as my student teaching internship has taken over my life the past 7 weeks and I have majorly slacked on posting an excerpt from my life as a student teacher.

 

To debrief you all on the past several weeks, I have successfully to begin teaching 3 preps- Agriscience Foundations 1, Food Science 2 and Food Science.  Each class keeps me busy 24/ 7 and I love it!  My Foundations class just began their Plant and Soil Science Unit, where we are learning the basic of soil and have just planted our spring garden.  Food Sci. 2 is just two short weeks away from finishing their Beef Jerky and New Food Product Development Unit.  I am definitely excited to use the Meats Lab at my school and eat some delicious jerky recipes.  The students are so motivated to do this project.  One pair of girls is even making t- shirts for their presentation and are giving me one to wear as well- so precious! ;D  And then my Food Sci. 3 students are working on their Sausage Projects, where they apply similar skills my Food Sci. 2 students are using right now with their beef jerky.  With a funk schedule coming up, I am incorporating a mini- Preservation Unit into the current one, where students will learn the uses of preservation and how to can pickles, jellies, etc.  As you can see, I eat, A LOT!  I so need to join a Zumba class on campus or something!

 

Overall, each day has its own challenges.  Some days are great, some days are rough, but I somehow manage to work out the kinks mentally with myself and with my students and always move forward with them.   I have definitely experienced things that my department didn’t really prepare me for and for good reason.  I don’t believe there is cookie cutter situation for how to deal with students cheating or when a student wants to talk to you about pressures from their boyfriend.  These classroom management- types ordeals are immensely situational, they are each individually different and I have had to spend much time getting to know my students so that I am able to handle these unique situations effectively and not offend or upset the students further---the last thing I want is for them to dislike ag because of how the intern dealt with them. 

 

On a lighter note, I truly feel my internship has been one of the best learning experience I believe I will ever endure.  I’ll be honest, I am sometimes not the best listener when someone talks endlessly, but when my cooperating teacher takes the time to tell me stories and give teacher advice, my mind absorbs everything he says.  I feel so blessed to have such a seasoned teacher who has seen it all, been through it all and at the end of the day stands proud for this profession.  I hope that in 30 years, I am still standing proud for Agricultural Education, for this internship is proving to me that Ag Ed has always been needed in American public education and will always be needed.

 

If you are a student teaching right now and nee someone to just vent to, please feel free to contact me on here or by cacee.ford@ufl.edu.  I know what you’re going through, YOU CAN DO IT, just hang in there!  Always remember Jeremiah 29:11 and that God doesn’t put mountains in front of you that you can’t cross!

 

Sincerely,

Cacee A. Ford

Hi CoP family,

 

Wow, how the month of January flew by!  As soon as the semester began, I, along with 18 other UF teacher ed students, began a 3-week long on-campus visit, nicknamed "the block".  From 8am- 5pm each day we wrote lesson plans and spent a good amount of time learning various teaching techniques from professors inside and outside of our department.  I am beginning to think it is called the block because by the end of it, I had filled my brain with so much information, it was as heavy as a concrete block! ;D

 

As the block ended, we ventured to the Florida Leadership Training Center, where we spent two jam-packed days with fellow FAAE members.  I presented several lesson plans and ideas and was given great feedback on how to improve and develop them.  One of the highlights of the conference was spending time with such passionate individuals and beginning to feel what it will feel like when I start teaching at a Florida middle or high school.

 

As the weekend ended, I began preparing for Monday, my first day on-site at Union County High School in Lake Butler, FL.  I am currently 3 days in and have been preparing for this coming Monday, Feb. 6th, in which I will pick up my Agriscience Foundations 1 class.  We will begin with a natural resources unit and I am so pumped to teach my students about the true foundation of agriculture! So far I have helped some students create bulletin boards for the computer lab and Mrs. Imler's class, visited with one of students who I am helping mentor their SAE project, and attended my first faculty meeting, which involved my principal updating teachers on upcoming events in the school.

 

That's all for now folks!

 

Cacee   a.k.a. Ms. Ford ;D

Post-convention

Posted by Cacee A. Ford Dec 5, 2011

  

11/27/11

 

Post-convention:

 

Think back to a moment when you were inspired in regards to our profession of agricultural education.  Recall the excitement you felt during and after the experience.  And finally, as you think about this moment also think about the motivation that came over you.  Have you ever had a moment like that?

 

I certainly have and it was the entire week at this year’s NAAE Convention!  I have been back in the sunshine state for just at 1 week and I am truly missing convention and all of the wonderful people I met there.

 

One of the most memorable parts of convention for me was to witness the strength of the comrade between the Board of Directors, NAAE staff, the student staff and partners and sponsors of NAAE. So many times I saw individuals from each of these groups working together to ensure everything was running as seamlessly as possible.  Everyone was gracious, patient and open-minded, even in the busiest of times and even doing the small things.

 

It was also incredible to see how pre-service teachers, such as myself, are indeed an important topic of convention.  Sometimes it is difficult to be taken seriously because I have no teaching experience yet.  Every single time I told an ag teacher or convention attendee that I was on staff and will be student teaching in the spring, I was always made to feel important and like what I will be doing truly matters, because as we all know it certainly does.  And we all also know how critical it is to recruit more college students to pursue our profession. 

 

If we don’t build those students up and provide them with experiences and opportunities to be apart of our organization, how can we expect them to want to teach agriculture?

 

I hope that my blogs will help contribute to bringing about a resolution for this and will add to the current efforts to recruit and retain teachers.  Conversing with the other student staff about their student teaching experiences was also awesome to be apart of because we each will be teaching different courses, yet can relate to the same difficulties and triumphs throughout our college careers.

 

Between working for NAAE at National FFA Convention and now NAAE Convention, I have personally met and conversed with the numerous sponsors who not only provide funds, but valuable knowledge, products and relationships to both events.  I would like to give a shout out to Belinda who graciously set up and facilitated the Lab Aids workshops, sponsored by DuPont, who loaded me up with a class set of the Red Light, Green Light workshop materials.  You see, I will be teaching this lesson next Wednesday to a Biotechnology 2 course in Williston, FL.  Because of her kindness I am able to provide this lesson with little costs and increased familiarity with the information presented.  I am beyond excited to teach this lesson and I hope I make Mrs. Belinda, Scott and Cassie proud!

 

Alissa told me back over the summer that all of the work I put in during the internship would pay off at convention.  She was exactly correct.  My primary assignments dealt with the general session presentations and so I spent a great deal of time perfecting the PowerPoint’s and communicating with President, Greg Curlin and President Elect, Ken Couture to ensure we had a consistent and accurate routine. 

 

I would also like to mention Greg and I's musical scheme to play Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” as it matched this year’s them.  We, of course, also had to include some Journey and George Strait in the playlist as well!   Along with those antics also included a wonderful prank we played on Ken.  I am not looking forward to the payback we may receive next year!

 

I could write pages and pages about my week at the 2011 NAAE Convention.  Yes, it was that awesome!  I will close by saying that if any one person attends convention as either a teacher or staff member or workshop presenter or whatever and their goal is to further inspire and motivate another attendee, they certainly have.  Every time someone from back home has asked me about my week in Missouri I think about how that week was unforgettable!

 

My passion for our profession is now stronger than ever thanks to the NAAE organization and the internship they selected me for, and therefore, the opportunity to work at convention this year.  I am so grateful for all Jay, Alissa, Miranda, Julie, Amaris and Mrs. Linda have done for me.  I cannot wait to attend next year’s convention as a teacher and have a reunion with everyone!

 

Thank you so much for reading this entry.

 

  

11/13/11

 

 

 

During my recent trip to Washington, D.C., I visited the Library of Congress and countless other historical places surrounding it.  It was my first time ever visiting the nation’s capitol and bringing to life all of the historical landmarks I learned about growing up.  For me, it was a whirlwind to see so many beautiful and meaningful sites in one, short day.  My mind was needless to say on overload.  One of the most memorable parts of my trip was the plaque I found in the Library of Congress.  There were actually many plaques surrounding the roof of the main room.  But, the one I found was very special.  It was inscribed with the words,

 

“The Foundation of Every State is the Education of Its Youth.”

 

To some people, that plaque may not have meant much.  But, to me and I can guarantee you any individual passionate about education in any capacity, would be moved by it.  It made me realize that education has and will always be critical to our great nation.  No matter what controversy, issue, problem, or plight, most anything can be resolved with the use of education.  I will never forget how inspired I became after viewing that plaque and how motivated it made me to always be an educator.

 

I find it quite ironic that the previous story happened to me during the time that it did.  You see, unlike most of my fellow bloggers, I am not yet an agriculture teacher.  I am a senior student in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.  I will student teach in the spring of 2012 at Union County High School in Lake Butler, Florida and will graduate with my B.S. in Agricultural Education and Communication with a specialization in Education and a minor in Soil and Water Science at the end of the spring semester.  I am also the UF chapter Collegiate FFA President and a most recent communications intern with NAAE.  I am indeed a very busy student.  But, nonetheless, I, like 99% of all women in the world, love to talk and it is my hope that this blog will help me use my voice, or thoughts rather, to promote agricultural education and help give the viewpoint of teacher-education students to others. 

 

Another ironic point of my first blog is that I am writing to you from the plane headed to St. Louis for the NAAE Convention.  Having flown two other times already this semester I have been surprised to meet an abundance of folks, who are uninformed of agriculture’s impact on their daily lives and therefore, agricultural education’s role.  Yet again, my “gift to gab” comes through for me and I hope that I have at least left my “flight buddies” with at least one fact that has altered their viewpoint from misinformed to informed. 

 

To end this first entry, I would like to simply note that at this point in time, I feel prepared to take on all the unknown that it out there in regards to teaching.  With the end of the fall semester nearing, I feel my professors and awesome PhD instructors, have prepared me as much as possible for student teaching.  I am ready and excited to interact with, as they like call it, “live ammo”.  I hope to spend my Christmas break drafting and tweaking lesson plans for my Agriscience Foundations 1 course and Food Science Applications 2 & 3 courses.  And I look forward to telling you in the next entry all about them.

 

Thank you sincerely for taking time to read this.  Go You!

 

~Cacee A. Ford

 

 

 

 


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