This month we get to meet Scott Stone, agriculture teacher at Centralia High School, in Centralia, Missouri. Scott has been teaching agriculture for 22 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experiences to share with us about the unexpected joys of being an ag teacher.
Q: What motivates you to Teach Ag?
A: When I decided to become an ag teacher, it was to help motivate students to become the best person they can be. I wanted to help students learn new skills and excel. As time has progressed, and more people have little connection for agriculture, my motivating factor has become the need to educate individuals about the importance of production agriculture in our world. If we do not educate young people, they will become adults who despise our industry, simply because they do not understand it. I want every student who comes through my classroom door to understand our country's most basic, yet important industry. We must educate the next generation or we will depend on other countries to feed us.
Q: Where is the coolest place you have traveled as an ag teacher and why did you go there?
A: I have had the opportunity to accompany two of my National FFA Proficiency finalists to Costa Rica. It was amazing to see how different, yet the same agriculture is there. I had the chance to learn about their production systems. I also went zip lining. For anyone who knows me, I am petrified of heights, so this was a major step outside of my comfort zone. One of my most vivid memories was just after we landed, we boarded a bus to take us to our first stop. Due to the flooding, the main road was washed out, so we had to take the back road. There were some very beautiful waterfalls, but the road was only wide enough for one vehicle. So when we met anther vehicle, we had to back down the mountain until there was a pull off. No guard rails, no road burn. I thought we were going to die.
A: As an ag teacher, you never know what the next project coming down the pike is. One day I may be helping fix the baseball pitching nets, and the next day we are picking up trash around the school grounds. All of this goes into making this job a great one. One of my most memorable projects happened about three years ago. It was the day before prom and I had a student show up in my room. She said, "I forgot to order flowers for prom. Can you make me a boutonniere and corsage for tomorrow?" I said, "I do not have any fresh cut flowers, why don't you try the flower shop." The next response was, "I do not have any money." So I said, "Sure, we will get you what you need." So using only bedding plants and ferns from the greenhouse, we made a boutonniere and corsage for this young prom couple. I just kept praying that it stayed together and made it till the end of the night. P.S: It did.
Q: What unique skills/knowledge have you gained by being an ag teacher?
A: As an ag teacher, you have to have all kinds of skills and knowledge. You have to be a jack of all trades and master of few. My favorite subject area is animal science, so I have learned to do everything from artificial insemination to processing a chicken. I have learned a lot in the greenhouse, but can still kill plants with the best of them. I am a licensed bus driver, which is cool and scary all at the same time. I am great and saying "yes" first, and then figuring out a plan afterwards. I am not good at saying "no."
Q: Why is teaching agriculture the BEST. CAREER. EVER?
A: When most people look for a job, they have specific criteria they are looking for. Some want to work inside, some want to work outside. Some want to work with people, some do not want to be around people. Some want to do the same thing every day, some want something different every day. Some want to use a computer, and some want to use their hands to make stuff. So after 22 years of teaching, I can truly say that teaching agriculture is all of these. This career combines the best attributes of all jobs into one. I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that this career lets you have the perfect job, while making a difference in the world every day.
Interested in learning more about the BEST.CAREER.EVER? Follow this link to the Teach Ag website to learn more about how you can begin your path to making a positive difference in the lives of students and their communities each and ever day.