While I am writing this, I am looking forward to participating in National Teach Ag Day. I'm sure by the time this is printed, we will have all sorts of amazing stories to share from Teach Ag Day. Whether you have grand plans or simply tell your students that agricultural education is a viable career option and we NEED good teachers out there, I hope your Teach Ag Day Rocks!! Please share your ideas and photos of Teach Ag Day. I know there is a lot of traffic through social media and it is exciting to see the response and knowledge of National Teach Ag Day grow!
Who is excited about the 86th National FFA Convention in Louisville. Kentucky? Although we have not completely finished our agenda for the week long National Convention, I already know it will be packed with amazing opportunities for my students. Cool and exciting tours that will be talked about all year are just one of my favorite things about convention: the keynote speakers, the career show, the retiring addresses of our national officers, and of course the shopping adventures are all reasons to look forward to this trip. I know many of you may be putting in last minute practices getting ready for competitions or reprinting pictures for those agriscience boards. Some are planning their trip for the collegiate students and getting all their giveaways for the career show stocked up. Whatever your plans for the 86th National FFA Convention, I hope you have a remarkable trip filled with opportunities.
Just like state and national conventions always energize myself and my officer team, I can not help to reflect that this upcoming NAAE convention will be my last time in office. The amazing professional development opportunities that are offered at NAAE convention are truly the best around. I get so excited to meet our award winners and hear their testimonies of what works in their programs across the county. Although I am often envious of the facilities or funding some schools receive, I can always take back a thought or idea to my program and my chapter to make us better. Have you ever stopped to think about what do you do to help rejuvenate yourself in your profession? Have you ever considered attending the NAAE convention? I understand that funding is not always a given and that sometimes it is difficult to ask for time for yourself when we typically miss a lot of time out of our classrooms for our student organizations. But I still encourage you to ask! I can honestly say that the NAAE convention is like a family reunion mixed with a new social because I always get to see and visit with familiar faces while meeting new people from around the country. Some of my favorite stories to come back and share with my students what is happening in agriculture, agriculture education and classrooms from all different types of programs. My family is always amazed that I can talk about friends from across the nation, no matter what college football team they cheer for! (ha-ha)
All joking aside, if you have not attended a national conference, or haven't been in several years, I encourage you to consider it. We have made some changes in the organization and presentation of the conference and I hope it makes for a better professional experience for you. There are opportunities for social gatherings, including the popular growing network reception. There are chances to hear how programs and teachers work to be successful as well as meet our organizational members and conference sponsors. Some of the best professional development I have ever attended has been at the NAAE conference. And if you haven't heard, or happen to be a rodeo fan, there is a fantastic location during the NFR in Las Vegas! If Vegas isn't your style, then perhaps Nashville or New Orleans will be in upcoming years!
While talking about the NAAE convention, I just want to take an opportunity to say thank you. I want to thank you for the amazing opportunities I have experienced and been a part of during my 6 years of working with NAAE on a national level. I am humbled by your dedication and innovative ideas. I am honored to have represented this profession and hope that I have in some way helped you or encouraged you to continue in this career. I know I do not have all the answers. In fact, there are several of you out there that I have on speed dial. I am still a firm believer that we must mentor and encourage our young teachers. We have to be willing to share and work together. We must work together and help each other, in our classrooms as well as with our total program. If we are going to be relevant, we must embrace literacy and mathematics in our classroom. We must be team players and work with academic partners to help our students. We must be willing to make a difference. Thank you for what you do every day! I am an agricultural educator by choice, not by chance.