Yes, while most teachers are winding down the school year and trying to finish up all school connections for their summer break, we ag teachers are in what I would call transition mode. We just want to put away our final lab supplies, finish grading those final exams, get those last greenhouse plants in the ground, and sort of clean up our rooms before we head off to a convention, a professional development conference, or a fair. I enjoy this time of year mainly because it brings a fresh and renewed sense of energy to the classroom. My students are excited to get outside to go fishing, plant gardens, and start those landscaping projects. It is the best time of year to really incorporate hands-on learning into your curriculum.
I also start to look ahead to my summer schedule and try to find time to fit in my officer retreat. As other teachers look forward to down time, we look forward to spending time watching our students show that fair project, connecting with our ag ed family at professional development conferences, and visiting our neighbors at a regional conference. Some of my best memories are the road trips I have taken with my Wisconsin ag teacher friends to our Region III Conference. We have the best time and have quite a few stories to share. Even though we spend time away from our families, we know that the time we spend together will reap many benefits the next year in our classroom. We do a lot of brainstorming on these trips and come up with some great ideas... well most of the time they are pretty great! These trips to the Region III conference have established new friends across our state border, which has also proven to be beneficial in our classrooms. If you haven't taken an adventure to Region III Conference yet, find a group of your ag teacher friends and plan a trip to Scotts Bluff, NE and see what benefits you can gain.
I once thought, "How great would it be to have a whole week of vacation and to just sit and do nothing!" I tried that once just for a day and didn't like it one bit. I actually got all twitchy and jittery wondering "What am I forgetting to do?" Then I wandered around the house and looked for things to clean, move or reorganize and still couldn't shake the feeling that I needed to be doing something. I thought I must be crazy, most people would be happy to have some free time to just sit and do nothing. I discussed this with some of my closest ag teacher friends and learned that they are the same way. We are like the energizer bunny, we just can't wind down or turn ourselves off. So if you are beginning to think there is something wrong with you, because you can't sit still or because your summer calendar is even more full than your school year calendar, I am confirming that you are just a normal ag teacher.
As spring approaches and we prepare to finish up the school year to transition into our summer, keep your head up, bask in the sun, and enjoy the buzz!