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3 Posts authored by: Parker Bane
Hello, colleagues!  I hope that this message finds you winding down the year and preparing to recharge for a bit this summer. 


Personally, I have a lot of recharging to do. I don’t know about you, but I had some crazy happenings this past school year. Among the craziest was a situation where a young man in one of my classes became very angry with his project and threw a hammer across the lab. 


Fortunately, no other student was struck and injured. However, it is obvious that the young man is dealing with more than enough hurt of his own. You see, this wasn’t his first outburst. Over the course of his high school career, this young man had several emotional situations.


While this particular student showed his pain during highly visible displays, many others suffer in silence. Accordingly, as educators we have a responsibility to be beacons of kindness and stability for our students. We don’t know all the battles that our students are fighting. 


Some struggle with hunger. Others are fighting to fit in because they feel different from the other students. Still more go home to struggling family situations. 


As Ag educators, we don’t have the luxury of a handy reference manual for how to deal with every possible situation we may encounter with our students. Furthermore, we are likely not all equipped to be therapists and counselors. What we do have, though is an amazing 3 circle model to engage students and improve their lives. 


Just this week at the Region II Conference, I got to see first hand the impact of animal science education on criminal offenders at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Offenders volunteer their time for the PAWS program by training service dogs for veterans in need. The veterans benefit by receiving well-trained dogs. The offenders benefit from the interaction with the dogs and the rigorous training process. 


Clearly, our students (hopefully) aren’t criminal offenders. However, the lessons we can learn from the PAWS program are applicable to all of our students.  


Have you ever taken students off site to work with animals?  What unfolds is amazing. Shy students begin to smile and come out of their shells as lambs approach the fence where they stand. Boisterous students are humbled by the gentle interaction with a well behaved puppy that wants to play. A grumpy teacher can’t help but soften up a bit when a dairy cow comes over and gives him cow kisses. 


These are regular occurrences in many of our programs. Whether we teach animal science, horticulture, natural resources, or business, we all have unique opportunities to engage students in meaningful experiences. 


By providing meaning to our students, we are giving them a precious gift. However, we have a responsibility to make sure that all students feel like they are in an environment in which they can learn. 

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a perfect example of this. Sometimes I’m grumpy. Sometimes I don’t choose my words carefully enough. I’m human. However, I really do want my program to be a place where students feel free to be themselves...a place where they can express and challenge ideas. 


That’s where it starts. I look forward to what we continue to do as a profession to make every student feel welcome in every classroom, every day. 

This is a feature from the April 2019 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

 

The spring and summer months are full of professional development opportunities for agricultural educators.  As I think back on my own career, some of my favorite professional development has come from regional conferences.  

 

The cool thing about our regional conferences is that many of them are within driving distance. Those that aren't are still relatively short flights away from home. When I think back to the great experiences I've had at regional conferences, I can identify three major benefits of attending.

 

First, I've made great friendships and built wonderful relationships with teachers across the region. Building this network has given me access to experts in many different areas of agricultural education. Although the states in our regions are relatively close in proximity to each other, there is still a stunning degree of diversity from state to state. Knowing people with different experiences has improved my program here at home.

 

Second, regional conferences have allowed me to see how other state associations function. Learning about the different professional development and advocacy programs offered by other states has been very enlightening.

 

Finally, I have benefited from the professional development. Yearly, I share with my students the stories of places I've been and things I've seen at regional conferences. The experiences I've had on professional development tours have enriched my teaching by giving me great stories and photos to share.  

 

Sign up for your regional conference!  You'll be glad you did!

 

Speaking of big impacts, I would like to thank the NAAE staff for the work they do on our behalf. I would especially like to thank Katie Wood for her service to the association. Katie has decided to move home to Washington. We wish her and her family well.  

 

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Parker Bane

Advocacy Begins at Home!

Posted by Parker Bane Feb 20, 2019

This is a feature from the February 2019 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.

 

I hope this message finds you well. This time of year is full of blessings and challenges for agricultural educators as we enter the final half of the school year and head directly into our season of competitions and awards.  

 

Speaking of awards, I'd like to take a moment to put in a plug for the NAAE award programs. We often put so much energy into recognizing the success of our students, that we sometimes forget to showcase the incredible contributions that we make as educators. Our diverse award programs give you the opportunity to do just that. No matter where you are at in your career, or in what setting you educate, there is an award program for you! The credibility and publicity that an NAAE award can bring to your local program is remarkable. Contact your state association for more information on state due dates. State-winning applications are due to the NAAE office May 15th, so don't delay! Your state's due date is likely to be soon.

 

Showcasing your program's accomplishments is a great way to build relationships with decision-makers at all levels. Right now, the NAAE Public Policy Committee is working on several exciting projects. Check out their Communities of Practice page for more information. First, a state legislation crafting survey has been completed and the results are posted. This document can help you see what other states are doing legislatively for agricultural education. Next, the committee continues to work to provide other resources that are helpful to your advocacy efforts like one-page documents on advocacy topics and compiling advocacy success stories.  

 

A great opportunity coming up is the ACTE National Policy Seminar. This is a fantastic program that combines professional development, discussion, and time for visits to your state's Senators and Representatives. NAAE will have the opportunity for some discussion specific to agricultural education, where we will likely hear an update on the National FFA Charter revision. Whether this is your first NPS, or you've been several times, the seminar is an outstanding advocacy workshop.  

 

Whether you are advocating locally or nationally, NAAE can help you tell the agricultural education story!

 

Just to give a quick staff update as well, NAAE is gearing up for NPS and the award application submission links are now live! 

 

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