Have you ever been in a rut in your classroom? Have you taught the same thing so many years in a row, that it becomes repetitious -- like a recording coming out of your brain? In reality that works for teachers in math, english and science but not for us aggies. With most of the other subjects taught in our schools, little changes from year to year, but agriculture is changing every day. We, as agricultural education professionals, are charged with the duty of keeping up-to-date not only with new technologies that come at us from every direction, but also new teaching strategies to help our students be successful in our classrooms.
Now the challenge comes to get away from our classrooms to take part in professional development -- convincing our administration that during our time away the flow of learning in our classroom is not interrupted. Everyone's administration is different, but I would hope they would be able to see the need for their ag teachers to keep up-to-date with their professional development. If we want to be successful and engaging teachers, we must invest the time at conventions and summer conferences to improve ourselves and teaching curriculum.
One of the biggest opportunities to participate in professional development is each year at NAAE Convention. Teachers can choose from more than 75 different workshops that can help their curriculum in subject areas from agriscience to ag mechanics. Professionals from all over the United States share their time and knowledge to help NAAE members better themselves.
In the end, it us up to us, as individual professionals, to see that we stay current in our classrooms. I must confess that in my latter years of teaching agriculture, I have been frustrated at times with some of my fellow teachers for not enhancing their educational portfolios, so that they may deliver the most challenging and innovative lessons possible. In the words of Iron Mike Ditka, "If you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can get it done."
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