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.
“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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