Nick Nelson

The 5 W's of Professional Development

Blog Post created by Nick Nelson on Jan 31, 2017

This is an article from the February 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Oftentimes we overlook the importance of professional development and make excuses to not attend or try to rationalize the relevance. I will admit that I have attended some workshops in the past that didn't live up to their title, however I try to make the most of the situation and find the silver lining. I understand that it is really hard to meet the needs of every ag teacher that may be attending due to the variety of agricultural curriculum.  Below I have made a list of the" Five W's" which should make professional development relevant to anyone teaching agriculture, at any level.


What:  You have to admit that professional development in agricultural education is unlike any other teacher organizations'. If you have attended one of these it is hard to compare the quality of theirs to ours! NAAE and the state and local levels of ag teacher associations do a great job of focusing on the teacher. We are idea sharers -- ag teachers don't reinvent the wheel, but are invested in sharing with each other and enhancing cooperation. If you are a post-secondary instructor, you also need to look at what professional development from NAAE can do for you -- if nothing else it is a tremendous recruitment opportunity for your program.


Who:  The best workshops I have ever attended have been led by ag teachers. Sometimes a business entity comes in and does a great job of letting us know the newest and greatest gadgets out there, but there is no question that ag teachers present the best to other ag teachers. NAAE does a tremendous job of using its members to offer professional development. I encourage you to look into the professional development offered in CASE, NAAE Regional and National Conferences, Teach Ag Campaign and National Agriscience Teachers Ambassadors.


Why:  Here is the most important reason. Professional development is for you and your students -- nothing else matters. We need to constantly improve ourselves for the betterment of our classroom and the advancement of our students. Agriculture is an ever-changing Industry, so our curriculum must be as well!


When:  Region I Conference--April 25-28, Sheridan, WY       

            Region II Conference--June 19-22, Oklahoma City, OK         

            Region III Conference--June 19-2, Wahpeton, ND     

            Region IV Conference--June 27-29, Lafayette, IN   

            Region V Conference--June 26-29, Athens, GA

            Region VI Conference--June 25-28, Portsmouth, NH


Wow:  As I am sitting here writing this blog, I am watching the snow come down again which makes me think how difficult traveling can be. I always worry when I have to leave my home, family and livestock because I realize the burden it puts on all of us when we leave home, but in the same token, I am reminded of the "Wow" factor that the last professional development that I attended gave me. I absolutely love the comradery that I get from meeting new ag teachers and learning new things that I can bring back to my students that have enhanced myself and my program. Do not miss out on the "Wow"!


NAAE/Staff Update:


Five of the seven NAAE committees have met and discussed business that will either be brought to the NAAE board meeting in March or to regional conferences. I am very impressed with the how these meetings are focused on improving NAAE. I do believe this new committee process is working, but the major difficulty is making sure every region has members on the committees, so action can happen. Regional leaders, be sure to check in with the committee pages on CoP and see if your region is missing members.


Contact Julie Fritsch if you are interested in having a Communities of Practice workshop at your state or regional conference. The workshop would cover setting up your Communities of Practice profile, using the mobile app, and general Communities of Practice information.


Please explain the value of ACTE and the role that NAAE membership has with ACTE at your state and regional conferences. Here is a link for a video of Dr. Jay Jackman talking about the importance of ACTE involvement. Please share with your states and regions:  Jay Jackman - The Value of ACTE Membership - YouTube.


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