New teachers are always hungry for innovative, insightful, and engaging ways to teach their students. From professional development workshops, to looking for ideas on the Ag Ed Discussion Lab or Communities of Practice, there are endless opportunities to find creative ways to teach. As experienced agriculture teachers, it is important to encourage our new teachers to seek out opportunities to learn and grow in our profession.
For Heidi Richard, agriculture teacher at Beau Chene High School, in Arnaudville, Louisiana, professional development is the key to her success in the classroom.
“I believe it is essential for educators to help students reach their highest potential by teaching them the important skills needed for their futures,” said Richard. “Therefore, I try to attend various conferences to gain unique teaching ideas that will help engage my students.”
As a first-year teacher, Richard quickly learned the importance of differentiating instruction and providing hands-on experiences for her students to gain life skills. She found that the more relevant her assignments were to real-life scenarios, the more engaged her students were in the classroom. Throughout her teaching career, Richard has had her students develop resumes, prepare and present speeches, and complete mock interviews to help them gain valuable employability skills that they will need later in life.
Now in her sixth year of teaching, Richard makes it a priority to attend the NAAE Region II conference to watch the Ideas Unlimited presentations. From these presentations, she has been able to see numerous ideas that she can modify for her own classroom purposes. This year, she taught a soil textures lesson to her students using a candy activity she saw during these presentations. Richard uses the knowledge and skills she learns from all of the conferences and conventions she attends to better her curriculum, and ultimately her students.
“My goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for the future, and to do that I have to go above and beyond their expectations in order for them to discover their purpose in life,” added Richard. “I want my students to look back and realize that their life was changed because of agricultural education.”
As a recipient of the 2017 NAAE Teachers Turn the Key scholarship program, Richard was able to gain numerous new ideas and techniques the help reach her students at the 2017 NAAE Convention. NAAE offers the Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship as a means of encouraging young teachers to remain in the profession, and to encourage and recognize participation in professional activities. Follow this link to learn more about this award category and to view pictures and news releases of our award winners at the 2017 NAAE Convention. This program is sponsored by RAM Trucks as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
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