Nothing is as it once was. Across the nation, agriculture teachers are wearing masks and shields. Students are sitting in a classroom, spaced 6 feet apart. Fundraising efforts are on hold. Events and contests are being conducted virtually. Teachers are teaching completely virtually. Students are alternating days of attendance. Lab supplies cannot be shared. We are teaching in a new era.
And, with all of the changes we are experiencing in our own schools, in our own classrooms, there are changes at the national level as well. For the first time ever, the NAAE Convention will be completely virtual—A New Era.
This significant change brings forth significant opportunity for our members, as well. Attendees to the convention will not have to travel, will not have the expense of room and board in a new city, will not have to coordinate a week out of the classroom. But instead, attendees will have flexible access to EVERY professional development workshop being offered by NAAE and ACTE. In addition, attendees will be able to collaborate and catch up with others across the nation in the virtual networking suites.
Plan to join us for the Virtual NAAE Convention and ACTE Vision Conference being held November 30th through December 4th. We are so excited for the new format and the opportunities being shared with agricultural educators from coast to coast, and beyond. Award winners will still be recognized. Delegate business will still be conducted. An election for the next leader of the National Association of Agricultural Educators will still be held. The show will go on, but it will certainly look different in this new era of education.
For such a time as this.
You may not be familiar with this scripture, but I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about Esther 4:14. The last three months have surely been a whirlwind of a ride. However, I believe there may be some silver linings to this experience.
For years, I have heard our profession express lofty wishes. We wish communities and schools would see the educational value we provide to all students. We wish there was a way to reach more students in more schools. We wish there was a way to reduce the burnout on our teachers and colleagues. Well, maybe Agriculture Education is the key for such a time as this!
I can’t help but think we are on the brink of an amazing outcome. We have been given a platform to really showcase our strengths as a profession and our value in schools and communities. We have been given a bit of a break from the hustle and bustle of Ag Ed. We have been forced to deliver agriculture education through new platforms and with strategic variety. Coincidence? I think not.
As NAAE looks to progress forward through the coming months, may we all take the time we have been given to rejuvenate our passion and energy for agriculture education. Use this summer to brainstorm what agriculture education could look like moving forward, knowing that the fall return to school will likely look much different than today!
Think outside the box. Collaborate across the country. Reach out to distant colleagues. Check on students, current and past. Spend more time with family and loved ones. Support your schools and communities. Stress the essentials of life—food, fiber and fuel. Reconnect with what is important to you.
Agriculture educators, what if we were made for such a time as this?
Footnote: Check out the following NAAE initiatives...
1. NAAE Virtual Book Study
2. Virtual CASE Institutes
3. Regional and State Association Meetings
4. Strategic Planning Survey