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



Carole Fay

SAE Specialist
Pennsylvania State University Center for Professional and Personal Development
Palmyra, PA
2016 NAAE Region VI Lifetime Achievement Award Winner


As we prepare to celebrate the BEST. JOB. EVER. next month, it is important we take time to recognize outstanding agriculture teachers who have dedicated their careers to providing the best educational experiences. One such ag teacher is Carole Fay of Palmyra, Pennsylvania. An agriculture teacher at Penn Manor High School in Millersville for over 30 years, Fay made a lasting impression on countless students by providing them an exceptional education using the three-circle model of instruction.



“The Chinese proverb, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’ has been my goal for the past 35 years,” said Fay. “As an agriculture teacher at Penn Manor for 30 plus years, I taught students how to ‘fish’ by teaching them skills they can use in a life-sustaining career and as members of their communities.”


Fay is now retired from the traditional classroom setting, but continues to make an impact in agricultural education for the state of Pennsylvania. As the SAE Specialist for Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Professional and Personal Development, Fay works with students and teachers to develop SAE projects and programs – yet another way to teach students “how to fish.” As part of this endeavor, she has created a student and teacher guide to using the AET recordkeeping system, so students and teachers alike can optimize experiential learning in agricultural education.


CaroleFay3.pngFay believes the experiential learning component of the three-circle model is an essential tool in teaching students those valuable and marketable life skills they will need for the rest of their lives. You could call it the “Fishing 101” component. Experiential learning provides students with the opportunity to not only develop and expand their agricultural interests and pursuits, but it also provides them the chance to grow as young adults, as they expand their knowledge of the real world.


“I am looking forward to the future of SAE in Pennsylvania and continuing to help teachers teach their students how to become ‘fishermen’ and remind them that the size of the ‘fish’ or SAE project is not important,” said Fay. “The important part is that they have been taught the skills to ‘fish’ for themselves.”CaroleFay4.jpg


Often it is not until our students have graduated and come back to the program to visit that we realize the influence we have had in their lives. Seeing them tackle life’s challenges as young adults and putting those “fishing skills” to work is gratifying because it lets us know that yes, we are making a positive difference in our schools, communities, and ultimately the world. That is a reason to celebrate our careers because we really do have the BEST. JOB. EVER.





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A Stump-Tailed Horse

Posted by Nick Nelson Aug 6, 2017

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


Cowboy Logic:
“Frustration is a
stump-tailed horse tied up short in fly season.”



As I write this blog, my kids are outside washing and clipping lambs for the fair tomorrow.  I will need to go out in a little bit and show them what spots they missed and get the cattle caught up. My kids are 10 and 12, and are constantly providing each other with constructive criticism and feedback (to put it nicely), much like all siblings.  Although they are becoming more responsible, there still is that chance that they left the water on, or the gate is unlatched, or the feed room got left open, or they spent all that time out there and forgot to feed their animal at all. During times like these I feel like that stump-tailed horse! 


We know that teaching agriculture is not an easy job, especially to our own kids! Then again it is our passion, it's what we do all hours of the day, and when your own child tells you that they want to become an ag teacher just like you, that makes what we do a lifestyle, not just a career choice. The Teach Ag Campaign has been a blessing to our organization and to our profession. I am seeing more young people wanting to become ag teachers than I have for a long, long time. At our state FFA convention, our STAR program put ag teachers on baseball cards and gave them out to the FFA Members with the idea that they would trade them to get sets.  There were rookie cards, legends, community college, state staff, etc. Each card had the picture of the individual and their ag teaching career stats on the back. I found that the ag teachers themselves were collecting them as much as the students were. I asked some students about the cards and if they were going to turn their collection in for a prize, and they told me "No, these are my heroes." 


Don't forget to mark your calendars for National Teach Ag Day -- September 21, 2017.  Check out the  National Teach Ag Campaign website for resources, tips and celebration ideas for you and your students. There is even a parent resource page that shows job demand, as well as a future teacher page that includes all available colleges and programs for agricultural education. We need to identify our students who would be great agriculture teachers and nurture that lifestyle choice. For three years, the STAR program has been running through the Teach Ag Campaign and has helped develop solid recruitment and retention strategies at the state level -- a major discussion point within the NAAE committees. Follow this link to see if your state is a STAR state and how you can be involved in the program to help us address the demand for agriculture teachers.


It's been a year since the Communities of Practice page has been updated. How unbelievable this site is for ag teachers!  There is nothing out there more helpful and useful for planning curriculum, lesson plans, activities, and everything in between. We now have a mobile friendly app -- just download the Jive app on your smart phone and you can have Communities of Practice even on the go. It is so important that we, as ag teachers, help one another because there are a lot of folks out there that just don't get agriculture and they certainly don't understand teaching. Do not think of CoP as just a place to get a PowerPoint, it is a communication portal, so you get the resource with the greatest resource to back it up -- a fellow ag teacher! Agriculture is too broad and ever-changing for each of us to know it all. Now is a perfect time to cruise the CoP spaces and improve your curriculum before school starts again. Don't stand there like that stump-tailed horse, use CoP to be your fly swatter! 


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