This is an article from the July 2017 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.
As I came in from a long day of work, I sat down at the table to go through the mail. The first couple of pieces were ads that could be thrown away. The next was a back to school letter. I was in no way ready to read that, so I shuffled through to the next envelope. The next envelope was larger than most and had the red and black MO Farm Bureau emblem on it. There was no mistaking what was in that envelope -- my car insurance premiums are due.
As I opened the envelope to see how much it would be, I began to think about car insurance. It is a necessary evil. It is something I need but hope to never use. I read that there is a car wreck somewhere in the world every 60 seconds. Many times, those wrecks are not even the fault of the driver. It could be the other driver, the pothole in the road, or the animal that darts out into the road. When one of the accidents occur, it is nice to know that there is insurance to help pay.
Then I began to wonder, why do I go with Farm Bureau for my insurance and not one of the other companies? As my mind wondered, I came up with a lot of reasons I stay with Farm Bureau. I know that Farm Bureau is advocating for agriculture at all levels. They work tirelessly to preserve our rural way of life, not to mention the staff are always great. They are there to answer my questions and help in anyway they can. I always know they are on my team. Then I remembered how I used their website to gain a lot of valuable information to use in my classroom. I am also reminded of how the organization is grassroots and listens to the members on the local level and shifts that information up until it finally reaches the national level.
I was quickly brought back to the present when my wife and kids came through the door. That meant supper was soon to come, so I had better hurry and finish going through the mail.
The next envelope was from the MO Vocational Agriculture Teachers’ Association. It was the invoice to pay my state and NAAE dues. My mind began to wonder, why again do I pay my dues to MVATA and NAAE? Just like Farm Bureau, numerous reasons began to pop into my mind.
The first thing to pop into my head was that insurance thing. Again a necessary evil. The professional liability insurance that comes with my NAAE dues is something I hope to never use, but never want to be without. We all hear of cases where teachers are being sued for one thing or another. I even heard that a set of parents tried to sue a teacher because their child earned bad grades. Our professional liability insurance is an NAAE benefit for every member. As a member, you also have the opportunity to purchase more liability insurance.
Then I began to think about the other benefits that NAAE provides, just like Farm Bureau. I know that the NAAE staff works tirelessly to advocate on behalf of agriculture teachers all across the country, not to mention the staff are fantastic. We could not be luckier to have such a talented and dedicated staff. They are performing numerous activities from Dr. Jackman participating in a Farmer to Farmer exchange in Africa, to Alissa working on professional development workshops at state conferences, to finalizing award judging. Julie is updating the website, monitoring CoP, and developing materials for NAAE conferences. Katie is working to finalize travel and hotel accommodations for the NAAE conference. Andrea is working on the Monday Morning Monitor and the News and Views. She is also managing the NAAE Facebook page, which has seen a lot of activity this summer. Ellen is busy working on meetings with State Teach Ag Results teams and working to make sure every open position is filled. The CASE staff are busy hosting numerous CASE Institutes across the country. And Ashley Hood accepted our offer to become our new Membership Coordinator/Program Assistant, with retirement of Linda Berry.
I could not help but think about all the professional development that NAAE offers from Teachers Turn the Key, to the National Agriscience Ambassador program. Not to mention the virtual book club, which is in progress right now. Who could forget the Community of Practice page that has countless resources for ag teachers on just about every topic imaginable? Just like Farm Bureau, NAAE is a grassroots organization. Teachers on the local level funnel ideas and concerns to the state level, which in turn bring them to the regional level. Finally, the regional committee members and vice presidents bring those items to the Board of Directors. Every decision we make on the board is in hopes of providing each member with the tools and resources they need.
I was again pulled back to reality when my wife yelled "dinnertime!" I will just have to remember after dinner to pull out the checkbook and pay my premiums. It is well worth the investment and I hope you do the same.
A Message from our Partners as part of News & Views: