As ag teachers, we never know how great our influence can be. A kind gesture, a compliment – anything can leave a lasting impression on our students.
For Roger King, agriculture teacher at Holmen High School in Holmen, Wisconsin, his entire career as an ag teacher has created quite a ripple effect in the state of Wisconsin. King began his career as an agriculture teacher 32 years ago. Currently the Wisconsin Teacher of the Year, King has directly impacted the decision of at least three individuals to become agriculture teachers.
King’s impact began close to home. His son, Nathan King, currently an agriculture teacher at Cashton High School, in Cashton, Wisconsin, decided at a very young age to pursue the same career as his father.
“In second grade, I remember filling out a pencil-shaped ‘About Me’ worksheet, where I said I wanted to be an agriculture teacher,” said Nathan. “In high school, even as other careers started popping into my brain, I was reassured that I wanted to be an ag teacher when I watched my dad teach.”
Growing up in the Holmen agriculture program, Nathan was connected with Troy Talford, who student-taught with Nathan’s dad. Talford later became the agriculture teacher at Sauk Prairie High School, in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, where he was the supervising teacher for Nathan during his student teaching experience – small world!
“Mr. [Roger] King instilled in me that students should drive their own learning experience – that, as educators, we should question their work and make sure they are confident in their responses,” said Talford. “I still reach out to him and will forever look to him as a mentor in my life.”
The ripple effect continues to spread, as each of these three teachers have former students who have chosen to become agriculture teachers, and are currently majoring in agricultural education at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls begins her journey to become an agriculture teacher.
“There is nothing more inspiring than seeing the impact that these men and countless other agriculture teachers have on their students’ lives,” said Sally Albers, Talford’s former student. “I just hope I can have half the positive influence that they have had.”
Stories like this are not unique to Wisconsin. Each day that we enter the classroom, our hard work and perseverance as educators touches the lives of our students and creates its own ripple effect.
To hear the full story, join us at next week’s National FFA Convnetion and hear Roger, Nathan, Troy and their former students tell their story in person during General Session 5, on Friday, October 21 at noon. The 2016 NAAE Outstanding Teachers will also be recognized during the general session. Congratulations to all of our award winners! See you in Indy!
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