Cowboy Logic: “The best thing about the
future is that it doesn’t start until tomorrow.”
When you are 14, it is extremely hard to see past tomorrow. Setting goals and recording them can be an almost impossible task. As you get older, the goals seem to be never-ending, or they are goals that cannot simply be accomplished, but only improved upon. If you remember back to when you were a high school student about to attend your very first National FFA Convention -- can you remember the excitement? For us out west, it might be the first time a student has had the opportunity to leave the state or ride on an airplane -- the excitement is almost unbearable. The trip itself might be so exciting that it is hard to set the goal of why they are going in the first place. Maybe they are going to compete in a National CDE, receive their American Degree, or serve as a delegate. I remember trying to prepare CDE teams who were simply satisfied that they won the state contest and to attend National FFA Convention was simply the reward. We cannot forget that taking students to National FFA Convention might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students, so we have an obligation to make sure it is a fun and memorable experience, because many of them may never get to come back. Don't forget to plan past that CDE event and do a little touring of the region, attend the sessions, go to the concert, plan time for your students to visit the career show -- let your students see a whole new world open up to them and create some new goals from all that excitement coming to fruition.
While attending National FFA Convention, be sure to make a point to bring your students to the NAAE, CASE and Teach Ag booths. The National FFA Convention & Expo can be such a positive experience on your students, that visiting these booths might encourage them to think about their own careers as ag teachers. The more that your students can see that the ag ed family really is a "family," it will definitely shed a positive light on what you do in and out of the classroom. We, as ag teachers, need to use every tool possible to find our future replacements. Our NAAE Staff loves to meet students and showcase the grassroots organization that we belong to. Check out the new things CASE has to offer, and where next year's CASE Institutes will be located, so you can take advantage of reinvigorating your curriculum. Teach Ag will have signing days for students making the commitment to teach agriculture, which can be a huge selling point for your students on beginning their careers as ag teachers, and gives them a game plan for the next steps in their career paths.
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