As my term on the NAAE board is coming to an end in a couple of months, I look back and reflect on what has happened in my life the past five years that I have served on the board. In addition to attending each of the National FFA Conventions, state conventions, numerous CDE’s, field trips and national land judging each year, I have also had to take time to attend NAAE Convention, board meetings, NPS, and some conference calls. It seems like a lot, and it is a commitment, but one I will cherish and have no regrets.
First I would say working with the NAAE staff alone has been rewarding, and we are indeed blessed to have such a dedicated staff working for us. I will also say the friendships I have made by attending regional meetings and with other members I have served with on the board are friendships for a lifetime.
Now all this being said, it is not always easy to leave for these FFA or NAAE trips. I sometimes feel like I am cheating my students, but I look at the contacts I make and the professional development I receive, and I know that in the long run I am benefiting both them and my program. I will be the first to admit I hate getting ready for a sub, as it is more work than being there myself. However, this too, benefits my students and my chapter, as they learn to take on more responsibility and become better leaders and students.
So in short, I would say the benefits far exceed the shortfalls and that I would without a doubt do it all over again. The places I have been able to travel to and the exciting and energetic teachers I have met all over the country have been so rewarding. I love seeing all the energy and positive attitudes wherever I have traveled and the passion so many of you carry for teaching others about where their food and clothing comes from.
As I talk to young teachers, I always encourage them to get involved in the district, regional, or national level in our organization. Don’t wait for someone else to do it, and if you do then don’t complain about the job others are doing. Each and every day we are challenging our students to step up and become better speakers and leaders – so why would we not challenge ourselves? I have been an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for over 30 years. I truly do "Love My Job" and feel the best way I could express this to my students is by being involved and taking a role in leadership in our professional organization.
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