Jason Kemp

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Blog Post created by Jason Kemp on Jun 10, 2018

This is a feature from the June 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

Hello NAAE Members,

I hope all is well with you and your families and everyone has successfully transitioned from our normal regimen of teaching, and into the summer life of an ag teacher (livestock shows, SAE visits, leadership camp, regional and state conferences -- and you can fill in the blanks).

After teaching agriscience, agricultural mechanics, power and machinery, greenhouse, and vet science for fourteen years at Dresden High School (DHS), I would say my fifteenth year came with a few challenges since my emphasis in teaching switched to large animal science at our school's livestock production complex and working farm. This year we have introduced some new bloodlines to both our swine farrow-to-finish operation and to our beef cattle cow/calf operation. So far we are seeing positive results within our livestock progeny. With that being said, I must say that challenges are not always bad. Some challenges can be good for us -- moving us out of a rut and becoming a motivational tool to drive us forward.

Today, I would like to talk to you a little about three subject areas:

1.      My favorite resources on CoP (Communities of Practice),

2.      Building a professional network for support in an agriculture program and the benefits of that network,

3.      Brief NAAE staff update.

I would like to challenge you to explore the CoP website and to build a professional network for your program if you have not already done so.I know it is one more thing on your plate, but I think it will benefit you tremendously.

Let’s talk about CoP and how resources are available to every NAAE member. If you take the time to browse the CoP page, you will find numerous informational resources to help you with lesson planning and classroom management. A common misconception about CoP is that it’s only useful for the new teachers. However, I have found that in order to really make these benefits work, it is sort of a symbiotic relationship for both new and the experienced teachers alike. For example, it is hard for a new teacher to post information about subject matters representing or exemplifying long term teaching experience, but our current teachers who have been in the profession for several years are able to share this information. On the flipside, our new teachers are the freshest out of the college framework for lesson planning, with knowledge of the latest technologies and teaching techniques, which can certainly add many benefits to the toolbox of experienced agriculture teachers.

CoP allows you to interact with teachers all across the US so that you can to build a network that will be super beneficial to your program. Remember knowledge is power and the more knowledge and resources we share with each other, the stronger the agricultural education teaching profession will become as a whole.

The CoP page is set up for super easy navigation. Simply look to the left of your screen and you will find the different communities that allow you to ask questions or post beneficial material for that community.

Building a professional network has been one of the most important attributes to our chapter for success in generating funding for our students. It is important to always have good public relations in your community. The success a lot of times for your fundraising endeavors, competition training/travel and chapter is a direct reflection of the support you have from your community network.One of the best networks you can have is an active FFA Alumni and support group. This is a group of individuals willing to work beside you, helping you to accomplish tasks which would have been otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve alone. Having a local network to help you achieve chapter and program success is one of the most rewarding things you could have. In addition to this support group, it is also important to have a strong connection to your county and state department of education to increase the success of your program.

Brief update about the NAAE staff: The NAAE staff are very busy right now preparing for regional conferences. Other programs they are working on are the virtual book club and the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Program which will take place in July. This time of year also requires our NAAE Staff to process approximately 200 award applications, set up regional award judging, and prepare for award recognition. In addition to these projects, the XLR8 program has been a super successful program and the staff are planning to facilitate a more local version in Ohio and Arizona this summer. The staff is also working on membership record status for the past year and preparing this year’s membership records. Preparation for the National NAAE Convention held this year in San Antonio, Texas is also underway. As you can see our staff members are super busy working to insure we will have the most beneficial and successful professional organization offered. Nick and I, along with NAAE staff, are making plans for the regional visits this summer. I know all of the regional vice presidents and secretaries are planning regional conferences for the summer and our vice presidents are also making state visits.

As you can see from my title, “Are You Up for The Challenge,” we are all very busy at NAAE, helping to build a stronger tomorrow for our organization. By embracing and learning from our challenges, we will continue to move forward in a positive direction..

We can’t wait to see you this summer!!!

Jason

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