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.
As you browse Communities of Practice, attend your regional conference, or engage in summer professional development opportunities, you are bound to interact with several great mentors in agricultural education. The great thing about our profession is that there is an abundance of people willing to help you – whether you need resources for a lesson, advice on classroom management, or just a listening ear, there is always someone willing to help.
One such mentor is Wesley Anderson, agriculture teacher at Lac Qui Parle Valley High School, in Madison, Minnesota. Over the course of his 35 year teaching career, Anderson has been able to serve as both a formal and informal mentor to numerous agriculture teachers across the state of Minnesota.
“All of my career I have simply helped any ag teacher who needs assistance,” said Anderson. “I have shared my officer handbook and other materials with many instructors. I have teachers call me all the time asking for contacts for various topics and resources.”
Anderson is an open book for budding and seasoned agriculture teachers when it comes to information and tools to help build and improve their programs. However, the topic he most highly regards and stresses to those he mentors is the importance of Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) visits.
“I stress to other teachers how important it is to the parents of our students that a teacher from their child’s school actually comes out to visit them on their turf,” said Anderson. “That in itself sends such a powerful message to the family.”
The home visits are a critical part to Anderson’s program because it allows him to develop a relationship with both his students and their families outside of the classroom. Students who feel that he truly cares about their agricultural endeavors will ultimately be more engaged in the classroom and the program as a whole.
Anderson is also a proponent of the Ag Experience Tracker, which allows him and his students to document and track data for their SAE projects. This online recordkeeping system provides him and his students an in-depth analysis of their SAE projects, which helps them improve and advance their projects with ease. As a teacher, he wants to be fully involved in his students’ projects and provide them with the best tools, resources, and information to help them be successful.
Wesley Anderson was named the 2017 NAAE Region III Teacher Mentor award recipient. This award program is sponsored by CEV Multimedia. For more information about the Teacher Mentor award category and to see the other regional award winners, follow this link.