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10 Posts authored by: Parker Bane
Parker Bane

Half a career (almost)...

Posted by Parker Bane Dec 11, 2020

Hello, NAAE members!


I write you, today, with a sense of bittersweet.  This will be my last "News and Views" post as a member of the NAAE Board of Directors.  I'm very much ready to relax a little bit and spend more time with my family.  Speaking of which, I want to give a special shout out to my beautiful wife, Angie and our daughter Ella for their support of me as I've served the association.  I love you!  


My retirement from the Board will begin the first time in nearly 15 years or more that I've had some sort of elected or appointed role within the Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers (IAVAT) or NAAE.  I remember my first position well.  I served as the Section 9 IAVAT Secretary-Treasurer, and I was responsible for taking minutes at our fall and winter meetings and keeping track of the section treasury.  I guess things just kind of evolved from there.


In Illinois, you can retire with a full pension after 34 years.  If you look at it that way, I have been working for the association for about half of my career.  I have to be honest.  It really doesn't seem like it's been that long.  


I shouldn't let my nostalgia get in the way of my point, though.  I really value the opportunities that I've been given to serve the association.  When you really look at it, NAAE and our state associations do really good work, and there's a lot of work to be done.  No matter where you are in your career, I would encourage you to take a stab at serving in a role.  


States, sections, and districts always have things that need to be done.  Nationally, we are always looking for good people to serve on committees.  There's truly something in which each and every one of us can excel.  


Friends, it's been an honor to serve you.  Thank you for putting your trust in me.  May the end of your semester and your holiday season be filled with blessings!

Parker Bane

Building our Future

Posted by Parker Bane Sep 24, 2020

National Teach Ag Day was a wonderful celebration!  Now that the excitement has passed, it's time to remember that recruiting and retaining the next generation professionals in agriculture education is a task that requires year-round commitment.  NAAE is at the forefront of this effort.  


Not only do we have the National TeachAg Campaign, but  the resources that the association offers are magnetic to talent.  Teachers can obtain top quality professional development and opportunities for professional advancement through the Lead and Master Teacher program.  The Award and professional development cohort programs that NAAE offers also provide value for our members.  


However, the best resource that NAAE offers is the ability to network with other professionals just like you.  I've found that the professional relationships that the association facilitates are one of the most valuable recruitment and retention tools that we have.  You have power, through your relationships, to recruit outstanding new talent to the profession.  Furthermore, your encouragement can make the difference in retaining educators.  


Its up to all of us to make every day Teach Ag Day!

Parker Bane

Rising to the Occasion

Posted by Parker Bane Jul 31, 2020

Recently, those of us in education have undergone quite a bit of excitement.  I know that we have all been through a lot over the past few months, but recently, many of us have been anxiously awaiting.........our schools' reopening plans.  From what I can tell by visiting with many of you, our plans are all over the place.  

Some of use are going back to in person instruction in very large part.  I have seen a lot of discussions happening about how to create social distance in our classrooms and how to safely share tools, supplies, and PPE in our laboratories.  
Others of us are relying heavily on remote learning options. One of the chief concerns I've seen in that arena involves conducting the three circle model of ag education in an environment where we can't have students using our equipment or in our direct presence for guidance.  
No matter what the challenge, though, I have been thoroughly impressed with how I've seen ag educators rise to the occasion.  We really care about our students, and we all want to do the best that we can.  It's not surprising to me to see NAAE members coming up with novel ways to keep in person learning safe.  It's also not surprising to see the work we've done with CASE and initiatives like SAE for all being employed as effective and rigorous remote learning supports.  
I've been in a lot of self-defense classes where I've been told, "Under stress, most often you won't rise to the occasion, you'll revert back to your lowest level of training."  
I can tell you for a fact that because of the professional opportunities we take advantage of, NAAE members ARE rising to the occasion.  Even our lowest leve of training is pretty high!  Keep up the good work and always be learning!

I would have never thought that in my teaching career, I would see a situation like we are in right now.  If there's one thing I've learned, it's that in teaching, you have to be prepared for anything!


I hope this message finds you safe and well.  I know that covid-19 is affecting each of our communities differently, and our governments are responding in different ways.  Many of you haven't been in the same room with your students since March, while a few of you have started back with students this week.


I certainly have a lot to learn, but here are some observations I've made:

  • Our nation and our states are very diverse.  The impact of the virus and our response to it varies widely.  I think it's cool to see the successes that different approaches have yielded.  That makes for good discussion with students.
  • I've been surprised by my students.  Sometimes I thought a remote lesson would be a hit, and it flopped.  Other times, I had lower expectations, and I was got more response than I bargained for.  
  • I've had a lot of success breaking things into smaller chunks.  Students seem to respond better to shorter, more frequent quick questions.
  • Thank goodness for NAAE programming!  I know many CASE certified teachers have maintained high quality instruction thanks to the support and materials provided by the initiative.  The professional development workshops have also been helpful for many teachers.  I've heard great comments about the workshops.
  • The National FFA programming has also been helpful.  The virtual field trips have been some of my most successful remote lessons.
  • There have also been some great online networking and social opportunities put on by states and regions.  Thank you for that outlet!
  • It's ok to not have all the answers.  I think we've done a great job with the hand we have been dealt.  I'm hopeful that we can return to being with our students sooner rather than later, but I know one thing.  No matter what happens in the future, NAAE will be there to support you!

Be safe and well.  Take care, and don't forget to share your own successes!

Parker Bane

Happy New Year!

Posted by Parker Bane Jan 2, 2020

Welcome to a New Year!  I want to thank you for your continued engagement in NAAE and wish for many blessings to come your way personally and professionally.  


For those of you that I haven't been able to meet, yet, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I live in Towanda, Illinois with my wife, Angie (who is an amazing ag teacher) and our daughter, Ella.  We love spending time with our Golden Retriever, Luigi and our small, but growing herd of show cattle.  In fact, we are awaiting the birth of a calf as I write this message.  I am finishing 17 years of teaching at Pontiac Township High School.  


NAAE has been a significant blessing in my life, and I hope that you can say the same.  It is my goal that the association continues to provide and expand its high quality member services, professional development programs, and advocacy efforts.  We need your participation to make that happen!


Soon, we will be starting virtual committee meetings, which are a great place to be involved.  We will also be opening up our award applications and registration for professional development programs.  Especially on the award programs, be watching for your State's particular due dates. Many states request completed applications by March or early April.  CASE institute registrations have been open since December 1st!


We also have some exciting new plans for the new year.  Stay tuned!  


Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need help with anything!

Hello, NAAE!


I hope this message finds you well.  October brings about many things...changing colors, the harvest, Pumpkin Spice everything, and National FFA Convention.  National FFA Convention is always an exciting time.  We are fortunate to be close to Indianapolis.  We run a trip for students that want to attend the entire convention, and we also run a day trip for students that want to see it all, but can't go for the duration.  


Regardless of how long you can attend convention, stop by and visit the NAAE Booth in spot  number 615.  The Teach Ag Campaign can be found in booth 1471.  You'll be able to learn about NAAE programs and initiatives, ask membership questions, and receive cool NAAE swag.


How do you get the most our of your National FFA Convention experience?  I am thankful for all the opportunities provided to students.  First, have a plan for what you absolutely want to see and do.  Next, make sure you build in enough time to take care of yourself and your students.  Personally, I feel much better when I plan out meal stops, eat regularly, pack some snacks, and get plenty of sleep.  We all have different roles at convention.  Some of us are competing in multiple events.  Others of us will be taking in the leadership experiences.  This diversity makes the convention a uniquely engaging experience for each of our students.  


Finally, don't forget to lean on the experience of other teachers that are attending the convention.  Some of the coolest events and activities are found by word of mouth.  


See you at convention!

Parker Bane

Much to celebrate!

Posted by Parker Bane Aug 29, 2019

I hope that this message finds you doing well.  Most of us are back in the swing of a new school year, and if that weren't enough cause for celebration, our members have a lot of good news!  First, make sure you check out the list of NAAE Award Winners!  It is humbling to see our colleagues recognized for the great work that they are doing.  This group of winners is truly outstanding, and I'm glad that they will get their time in the spotlight in Anaheim.  


We all know that teaching can be an emotionally challenging profession, but creating a culture of celebration can shift our mindset to the positive.  I love the opportunity to recognize students for outstanding achievements, and they appreciate being recognized, too.  Just yesterday, I had the chance to see a student turn out a great project in the mechanics lab.  I made sure to point it out.  


We need to point out what our colleagues are doing well, too!  Of course, we have the NAAE Awards program, but we also have great cohorts of professional development and coming up soon, the National Teach Ag Day Celebration.  Thursday, September 19th is a great day to celebrate the profession.  Personally, I love to learn, and I like to take a little time to share my passion for learning with my students on Teach Ag Day.  Tune in to the live celebration from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT!


We would like to welcome Sabrina Shaver and Olivia Thomas to the staff as Communications and Marketing Specialists.  Ashley Hood will also be returning to us on September 3rd as the Membership Coordinator.  Our staff has been busy training and preparing for many events this fall, including the NAAE Conference in Anaheim.  


Best wishes as you start the school year!  Take some time to celebrate!

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.  


A message from our partners, as part of News & Views: 



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! 


A message from our partners, as part of News & Views: 



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