I had a thrilling moment today when a former student told me that she is considering teaching agriculture and switching majors from Elementary Education. Of course I said it was an awesome idea as we are in need of great ag teachers and I know that she will be GREAT! This potential ag ed major after such great workshops, sessions and discussions at The Council's Agricultural Education Summit last week, and I couldn't be more excited. Top it off with the RAM Super Bowl commercial and the celebration of the American farmer and I am practically on cloud nine! What an amazing time to be involved in agricultural education!
The focus of the 2013 Ag Ed Summit was recruitment and retention for school based agricultural education. I must thank Tony Small, Ellen Thompson and The Council for putting together such a great line up of speakers, panels and opportunities to discuss this issue within the profession. Thank you to everyone who participated in a panel, presentation or gave remarks. The enthusiasm and passion was so evident as our colleagues shared their stories, ideas and opinions. If you were unable to attend or connect live, I encourage you to access the sessions through The Council homepage. There were so many ideas shared that I have pages and pages of notes from the jam packed two days. Of course for this Floridian it was cool to see snow flurries and it is always entertaining to discuss weather and what so many of you are experiencing this winter. By the way, it is in the 60s at night and will be 80 tomorrow during the day. It just doesn't seem right now does it?
I know many are gearing up for National FFA Week activities and it may feel odd to not be planning National Teach Ag day festivities as well. So I ask, why wait for Teach Ag Day to promote our profession? There is no need! We can celebrate our profession and encourage our students to consider agricultural education as a viable and exciting profession! If your campus is like mine, students are already looking toward class selection for next school year. I am sure academic advisors are discussing summer classes and fall selections in the near future. Students are making decisions about their future, so why not have a conversation with a few students who you think would make GREAT ag teachers! it was exciting to hear of the state movements for Teach Ag workshops, trainings and competitions last week. If your state association is not currently offering activities for students, check out the Teach Ag website.
I also know that many are deep in student State and American Degree applications, proficiency applications, career development event competitions and on and on..... I know it is easy to push and push our students towards award recognitions and achievements. It is more challenging sometimes to recognize our own achievements. I know each state association has their own deadlines and processes for NAAE Award Applications. I want to take this opportunity to encourage you to complete award applications and receive the recognition you deserve. We work hard! So many members qualify for outstanding award recognition and never complete the application. Sometimes it is difficult to write about our achievements, but I encourage you to take a look and take a chance, We push our students and members to strive for excellence and I wish the same for each of you. In addition, I challenge you to look at your state ACTE process and award applications. We are honored to have several agricultural educators win ACTE award categories this past year and I know we can have quality candidates again.
My last thought I want to share was another point of discussion at the Summit. Folks, we can and will run ourselves ragged to push towards excellence. We can not do it all. Many new teachers leave our profession due to the overwhelming stresses and commitments we find ourselves in. Take advantage of resources, community members, and Alumni to help make your lives easier. We must take time to have a hobby, spend time with family, do fun things, and enjoy life. if you don't already have something planned for you- I challenge you to do something FUN for YOURSELF this month! Thanks for what YOU do..... and lets TAG an ag teacher!