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Meagan Slates

Reflection

Posted by Meagan Slates Apr 27, 2014

Friday was my last day at West Perry High School! I can't imagine my student teaching experience being any better. I have had so many great times and bad with the students that have molded me into the wannabe teacher I am today. Just about every student didn't want me to leave and I'll admit I was sad and not wanting to leave the classroom. Looking back I wouldn't change one thing about the experience.

 

There were several reasons I wanted to be placed at West Perry High School. The first being it was a two teacher program and I wanted to learn how both teachers ran their classes, the FFA, and managed the department overall. The second reason was the school was a little larger then the high school I attended and had a large at department. The third was that is was a general agricultural science department. I didn't want to be placed somewhere that had classes I was confident and comfortable in. I was a giant sponge ready to soak up and learn all the information I could! I taught everything from wildlife, plant and animal science, to mechanics….and I enjoyed learning so many new things that I didn't know! My cooperating teachers were awesome in the fact that they were willing to stay after school or help me prepare for whatever I wanted to do in class. I can say overall I defiantly mad the most of this experience. Staying at school every evening late and then waking up early to be at parli pro practice the next day is defiantly worth it for seeing the students excited is so rewarding.

 

some of the highlights of this semester include:

 

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Steam study with my Wildlife class

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Making floral design arrangements for the banquet (Mr. Hines had to be talked into this one!)

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Attending the banquet and watching all the students receive awards

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Planting in the greenhouse

 

 

Check out my block for more about my student teaching experience - agvocatingforthefuture.bogspot.com

Jessie Shafer

The Derry Experiences

Posted by Jessie Shafer Apr 27, 2014

Hi all,

 

 

So, this week was my last week of student teaching, which is so hard to believe, a few more days, weeks, months, etc. would be great but at least I need to start a new chapter in my own story. Looking back it has been quiet a chapter, in the beginning it is easy to say Derry was my only choice for a cooperative site and to some it was thought to be the wrong choice, only for geological convenience. But that was definitely not the case!

 

 

Coming from an area that doesn't have a school based Agriculture Education Program in the whole county the only experience I had, that was my driving force to be an Agriculture Educator, was through the county extension office, therefore, any school based Ag program would be a new experience for me, but keeping in mind I wish to work in a rural area very similar to the make up of Derry School District. Having an abundant amount of rural area and yet still has a large population of students from the near by urban and suburban areas enabling teachers with the ability to connect the same content and material  to a variety of student backgrounds and mindsets. One of the biggest challenges I faced during my student teaching would be that same challenge I so desperately wanted form a cooperative site.

 

 

Observing my cooperating teacher for the first week and then transitioning my self into the role of instructor allowed me to see  first hand a variety of  teaching methods and strategies. The availability of different lab areas (food science, animal science, mechanics, floral, and greenhouse) aided in the way the content was presented to the students. The routine at Derry is consistent by having the in class content (lecture) along with the hands on component (labs). Presenting the lessons  in two different ways,insures that all students (8 multiple intelligences ) receive the content in an applicable form for their thought process.

 

 

Yet some students still were not getting the content, going back to the challenge I so desperately wanted, this was do to the students attitudes about Agriculture and what they thought the class was going to be (blow off). This led to my action research study of The Effects of Students’ Attitudes on Learning; given two sections of the same course (Introduction to Agriculture & Horticulture) with the same number of students (18), but every different attitudes for the cores and its content, will the way the content is presented have an affect on student performance or will their attitudes play the bigger ruler in their academic performance for the cores. This challenge allowed me to test out my pedagogical tool belt to its fullest existent, inquiry, lecturer, place based, and problem solving.Staying with the students attitudes classroom management was definitely a learning experience having a class that requires all three department staff to be present in the classroom, to keep the class under control.

 

 

The size of the facilities also allowed me to use/try out my tool belt to its fullest extent in terms of having animals in the classroom or having class in the barn ( a comfortable setting for me to get started). It also allowed me to farther my own education as far as the horticulture side of things (plant identification, planting, seeding, etc.) I revised any help I need with lesson ideas for reevaluating lessons to fit students needs or feedback on how a lesson went or did go. So I contently had professional development.

 

 

On the FFA section of Agriculture Education I had very little understanding be owned the classroom, by my experience at Derry had every thing explained to me on a much simpler/comprehensive level. Before the State went to affiliate membership, all the students at Derry were members of the FFA. The chapter has officer meetings every other Tuesday, to review their POA and discuss any other information that needs to be discussed. On the alternating Tuesdays there is an all members meeting to keep all members informed. Derry's FFA year kicks off with the chapter officers developing an extensive POA from there its  presented  to the instructor and then put in to action , after their summer retreat/debriefing . FLC is one of the big events for the freshmen members, all the freshman( first year members) that they can take go to be introduced to the extensiveness of the FFA organization in PA. I have had the opportunity to go with 14 students to the ACES conference, and more recently with 6 students to SLLC. All these experiences have shown me how the organization helps to develop the students' leadership and career skills as well as how it works to supplement the curriculum at the same time.

 

 

    In addition to the instruction received all the students take part in a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), offered as a credited course for Senior and Junior that have schedule conflicts ( help students reach becoming a completer). With 95% of  students participating in an SAE their is quite the variety. Derry SAEs range from the traditional production Ag enterprise and placement experiences to more innovative experiences , such as Food Science Research, Volunteer Fireman Experiential, and many more. Each student has two scheduled visits to the site of their SAE with their Ag instructor. Additional visits are scheduled on an as needed bases. This summer I had the opportunity to go along on some of these visits. The SAEs I visited were all traditional enterprise( market animals, gardens, laying hens, and horses). During my internship I have had several opportunities to talk to all the students about their SAEs and conduct a few visits with some nontraditional programs (Fireman , Hydroponics, Demolition tractors, Feedlot employment). Along with the SAEs participation all of the students were encouraged and coached one on one to prepare and send their record books to the state contest ( AET up date day is every Friday) as well as all the upperclassman were encouraged and coached one on one for their Proficiency awards.

 

 

My last day was very emotional as the students surprised me with a good by party, card, and chocolate dairy cow. The students, Mr. Campbell, Mrs.Campbell, and Mrs.Reed have taught me so much Thank you just doesn't seem like enough for all they have given me. I would highly recommend any other student teacher who want a great and developing student teaching experience to consider DERRY!!     

My mind is on Midd-West

Posted by Caleb Wright Apr 27, 2014

Friday was my last day officially being a part of the Midd-West FFA Chapter and Agriculture Education Program... but I'm not done there yet. As I sit thinking about the work I have done, the students whom I worked with, and the impact that I hope to have had, I can't help but smile and shed a little tear knowing I won't see my students come Monday.

 

When looking for a cooperating center, I knew what I wanted. I wanted male teachers, preferably in a multiple teacher program. I wanted a diverse course load, expanding my knowledge of multiple subjects. The school needed to have an active SAE program, expanding my knowledge of how to run one as an Advisor. I also wanted to see a strong FFA Chapter. I hit the jackpot at Midd-West High School in Middleburg, Pennsylvania. Led by the fearless David Bittner and Greg Erb (better known as Gerb and Bittner), Midd-West is one of the largest FFA Chapters in the state of Pennsylvania with some of the most amazing students. Greg focuses solely on mechanics while David focuses on Agriscience. Their ability to work together, though totally different personalities, is unlike anything I have ever whitenessed before. They truly are the definition of how a two teacher program should work. I set forth my intentions to teach a diverse course load from the start. I worked with both teachers, teaching 7 different courses. I had a non-duplicated enrollment of close 170 through all sections of my classes. When I was there, I was a third teacher. I was treated with respect and as a professional.

 

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Students in Agriculture Education 8 completing an Ice Cream Making Lab where we discussed dairy product manufacturing, overrun, and fat content in food products.

 

 

What else led to a great experience?

I submersed myself into the program. I took an active role with the Parliamentary Procedure Team. I focused my efforts on connecting with the slightly active, yet had a ton of room of potential students. I got to know the die-hard aggies, but I thought my time was more valuable addressing the needs of those students whom needed an extra push, maybe from someone different to capitalize on their potential.

 

The Saturday after my last day there, I woke up to a text message from Mr. Bittner. It read, "I think AT and SD will miss you most; you really fostered a lot of growth out of them." A tear welled up in the corner of my eye. These two students, while young, have the potential to do amazing things at Midd-West and beyond. I hope they realize that the world is there for the taking and I think they can do it.

 

If I could do it all over again, I wouldn't pick a different school, but I would change my approach. Student teaching is more about learning than it is teaching the kids. I am forever thankful for that experience and am looking for teaching jobs with great excitement.

 

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Midd-West FFA Public Speakers at Northern Region Public Speaking. Students from Midd-West competed in 5 events and qualified for State Activities Week in 5 events.

Quinn Cashell

Athens Adventures

Posted by Quinn Cashell Apr 26, 2014

I was fortunate enough to spend the last 14 weeks student teaching at Athens Area High School, located in Athens, PA with Mr. David Steinfelt.  I am originally from Chambersburg, PA, where I grew up on a family owned dairy farm.  My move to Athens put me as close to the New York border as Chambersburg is to the Maryland border!  Through my time at Athens, I not only learned to love the Northern Tier way of life, but I also learned to love my profession.

 

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When I first arrived at Athens, I planned to teach 14 units of instruction in classes ranging from Leadership to Agricultural Mechanics.  However, due to a large number of snow days, I was only able to make it through 9 units of instruction.  I quickly learned that it important to have a plan, but it is equally important to be flexible and willing to go with every curve that comes at you!  As I was preparing for my time at Athens, I became very nervous.  I was far from an expert in any of the units that I was preparing to teach!  However, looking back, I am grateful for this challenge!  Even though I had to put in more effort in educating myself before I could teach the students, I believe that I gained a lot more from the experience!

 

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Throughout this experience, I truly learned the importance of learning by doing.  There is no better way to teach students than to get them actually involved in the process.  I challenged myself from the beginning to accomplish this style of learning as much as possible.  I believe that I still have a lot to learn, but I was able to get a good grasp with my students as we worked through projects in the shop, greenhouse, and classroom.  I was pleased to hear from students that they really enjoyed the hands on activities that were brought into their learning experience!

 

I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor to encourage me when I needed it, advise me when things weren't going to great and I couldn't figure out why, but most importantly, give me the space to truly make the experience everything and anything I wanted it to be.  Looking back, I honestly cannot think of a program that I would have been better suited for.  As a result of such a smooth placement, I believe that I was able to really maximize every opportunity presented to me!  There is nothing more important with a student teacher placement than ensuring that the student teacher and cooperating teacher are a good match.  Fourteen weeks goes by fast, but I would imagine that it goes a whole lot smoother when you are able to communicate smoothly and effectively!

 

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Now, for the most important part of my experience....the students!  Teachers could not do what they do if they did not have a passion for the kids.  Yes, sometimes they made me want to pull my hair out, but at the end of the day, I cared about every single one of them.  It was hard at first for me to allow myself to get to know the students.  I have always had a hard time saying goodbye, so I figured it might be easier if I didn't get too attached, knowing that my time there was only going to be temporary.  That was a really thoughtless plan.  Looking back, my one regret is waiting to really interact with the students.  Though my time with them was limited, they greatly impacted my life.  Every student matters.  Every day.  Every student has value.  Every educator knows that.  Every student will also impact the future of our world in some way.  I want to do my part to ensure that they leave a positive impact.  My time at Athens has helped me greatly in preparing to do just that4

Over the past 12 weeks, I have gone through an experience I will not forget. Throughout my college career, I have been working towards getting to the light at the end of the tunnel. It took a long time, and was definitely a roller coaster ride to get to this point. All in all, I had an amazing experience teaching and all of the other stuff I went through was just in the past.

 

I was a special candidate, being able to split up my time student teaching between a high school classroom and then non-formally at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. I was nervous, because I had no idea what was going to happen, and where I would fit in most. Both teaching sites were completely different, and I can even begin to explain the differences. While I was in the classroom, I taught some subjects that I had no previous knowledge about. I took those classes and did my best to stay ahead of the students so it seemed like I knew what I was doing. Throughout the whole experience, my cooperating teachers were supportive and gave me great advice to motivate me to teach the content and not be nervous to what would happen. They were amazing at showing me what can happen when you focus on student rapport and building a community with the students. I was so thankful to have such experienced teachers as my mentors, with a combination of over 45 years teaching I couldn’t go wrong. It was a sad day to leave my students, because I was just finding my stride in the classroom, but I knew I had other teaching on my horizon.

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Switching to Shaver’s Creek was like a culture shock to me. I came in the first day and everything was so much more relaxed than I was used to. For a while I was not sure what was going on. I was so used to just being in a routine everyday and just running around like a chicken with his head cut off. But I accepted that because Ag teachers don’t really have time to relax, because they are so involved. But, now I was in a different setting and there were other priorities than a classroom. Throughout my internship at the center, I probably did 10 different teaching settings. There were guided nature center visits, sensory walks, Outdoor School, festivals, traveling bird shows, school programs, and many others that broadened my horizons. I gathered so much on facilitation and non-formal education that I didn’t previously know. I also had a great mentor teacher in George Vahoviak, another long time teacher in Ag Ed and Environmental Sciences. My time at Shaver’s Creek was very worthwhile, and I can honestly say my Ag Ed certificate being K-12 will not be a problem for me because I taught students from opposite spectrums, and even some in the middle.

 

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This experience was one of a kind and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I feel this internship fit my personality, and I was able to view both perspectives so I could make a decision down the road on what I want to do in the future as a career. I do know that I want to be in education, and teach students. I feel so accomplished as a educator and really feel like I am making a difference in student’s lives. This internship has affected me greatly and I will always remember my time at both teaching sites. I don’t know where my future will take me, but I am very confident in my abilities because I my student teaching experience and my mentor teachers who provided me with guidance and support that every student teacher should have. 

Mohawk Amazing

Posted by Mindy Stoops Apr 25, 2014

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My time at Mohawk has been truly a life changing experience!

 

On the first day I picked up my badge and that was when I realized this is really happening and these people are going to trust me with their kids!!

 

 

 

#1- The student teaching internship seems like a long time.  You think you have all kinds of time to get stuff done... WRONG!  The time flies by and before I knew it, it was over.

 

Mohawk has taught me so many things, most of all they have showed me the utmost respect and given me every opportunity that I can imagine.

 

I have always believed that the Ag Department was special.  When I was in high school Ag was the class kids took who did not fit in else where.  However, I have learned during student teaching the Ag is where EVERYONE belongs.  Through agriculture education we are able to provide students with real world experience and skills that will allow them to succeed in the workplace.  It is simple college is not every for everyone.  Agricultural education lets us equip students with skills that they can use to get a job.  Sometimes that job may become their career other times that first job is simply a gateway to bigger and better things.

 

 

 

The animal science curriculum allowed me to make cross curricular connects.  Agriculture lets us teach students in the classroom the theory then move outside and work with real animals.  I have worked with every level of students and I have realized that IEP students make me work harder.  I have found that I truly believe and encompass the motto: Every Student, Every Class, Every Day.  The high level students are easy to teach, however the lower level students become more challenging.  I do not feel like I have had a successful class period unless I had every students attention.

 

See original blog for photos and links: Alli's Ag Ed Adventures: The final student teaching blog post.

 

This blog post could very easily come in two distinct parts – one of which I had already written 7 weeks ago. I could, out of simplicity, reflect on my two student teaching experiences: one in Pennsylvania and the other in Costa Rica. However, I won’t let myself off that easily. This is meant to be a deeper, more pensive reflection. For that, I choose to reflect on my student teaching experience in its entirety – regardless of how incredibly different my two placements were.

 

Several years ago, when I thought of “student teaching” as the final building block of my academic career and experiences, I thought of it with a very closed mind. I imagined myself, who at the time did not have much interest in teaching in the classroom, not enjoying the work needed to plan, execute, and assess formal learning. I imagined it would be a bit of a hardship, but that I would endure and benefit from it. I, as many people often find themselves, enjoy being “unique” and not conforming to the norm (some call this transcendentalism). When I first thought of completing student teaching abroad, I was more excited – mainly because this meant I would get to leave the “norm,” be “different,” and explore the world. The box I put student teaching in began to morph into a new shape, but one I could not quite distinguish.

 

When we selected our cooperating centers over a year ago and I began to plan for my international experience, I still had a somewhat closed mind... and I didn’t really know what the “box” would end up becoming since I had no idea what to expect from the international aspect of my student teaching. It was still novel: something nobody had done and something that I would get to help plan. The whole “domestic” aspect of my student teaching didn’t seem as zesty and fresh, but I was still getting excited about it – but only because I loved the region and town where I would be going. It’s a pretty shallow reason for getting excited about student teaching somewhere, but as I mentioned previously, I didn’t think I would like teaching. Meanwhile, my Costa Rica experience was developing very slowly, with little noticeable progress to latch on to... so I began to focus on Wellsboro a bit more.

 

Two cooperating center visits, a national convention trip, seven instructional units, over a hundred lesson plans, and one incredibly chaotic academic semester later, I found myself in the blustery cold of Wellsboro, PA. Having had the chance to get to know some of my Wellsboro students on the National FFA Convention trip, I was excited to spend time with those ten and get to know them more. But how could I have thought that these were the only good kids at Wellsboro? Within the first few weeks at my PA cooperating center, I began to fall in love with the agriculture classroom and the chance to see those kids every day.

 

A rough winter caused enough snow days to push back the marking period a whole week – one week less than what I had prepared for in the fall. Due to my short time at Wellsboro, I was required to complete all unit and lesson plans for my 7 weeks at Wellsboro prior to arriving (as opposed to the first 3 weeks of instruction expected by other student teachers – another “novelty” that I selfishly clung to). By the time I really got the hang of teaching and investing myself in my Wellsboro kids, I had to pack my student teaching life into 2 suitcases (with much fewer jackets and scarves) and head south. It was a bittersweet goodbye if I had ever had one. I learned that I loved teaching agriculture, and that I can make an impact on so many lives as a teacher. But I was still anticipating the “unique” box that I opened upon arrival to Costa Rica.

 

When I arrived, however, that box didn’t seem nearly as exciting as I had expected. I suppose one could say that I received my due wage for always wanting more non-conformist experiences. The “normal” student teaching experience was by far the more beautiful and rewarding of the two. But this doesn’t mean that my time in Costa Rica has been wasted. The 7 week experience, though my 3rd (and almost non-novel) time in Costa Rica, has definitely presented several new opportunities and challenges that I would have not have received in Pennsylvania. Student teaching here, however, has almost nothing in common with my student teaching in Wellsboro.

Again, my Costa Rica experience was not a negative one. In fact, I am sure the challenges and discomforts will be extremely beneficial to my future life and career. Having to practically organize my own internship experience brought me a lot of stress but also gave me the chance to develop responsibility and accountability for my life experiences. I didn’t really have a supervisor or mentor here, but rather appreciated greatly the ability to communicate globally with my support team at Penn State. My Costa Rica experience, which was to involve teaching college students, dramatically changed within the first two weeks of being here. Yet I still maintained a positive attitude as I refocused on the goals of the student teaching internship.

 

Practically serving as an “intern” to the extension and social action office at the university, I was given various small tasks (and sought out my own larger ones) to maximize my time and investments. I helped with several tours and high school events, observed agricultural classes, and assisted in a chemistry lab. I did get to teach students – high schoolers – about agriculture. Yet I didn’t feel as though I was leaving an impact or nearly closely working as diligently as I had at Wellsboro.

 

Upon request, I was able to work with a local rural primary school and, therefore, interact with youth in another capacity. After just 4 weeks of simply volunteering in the classroom and planning a community event for these kids, I found that they were quite fond of me. I received several letters and notes, in addition to hugs and “don’t leave”s when I said goodbye this morning; there arose again that feeling of achievement of being a “teacher” and positively impacting the lives of students, even if I didn’t formally teach much of anything to these kids. I am continuing to learn about the impact that educators have on youth.

 

Here, at the end of my two-part student teaching experience, I reflect and can state that there have been several unique opportunities, many challenges, and countless revelations of what I desire to do with my life. Student teaching is about testing the waters to see if we are meant to be educators. It is also an internship in which, given the chance, we can experiment with other career opportunities. But student teaching, above all, is just another life opportunity to love and serve others. I pray that my student teaching experience was as much of a reflection of this life task as I had hoped. I pray that the students I encountered feel just a little bit more valued and maybe, just maybe, that they learned something about agriculture. After all, I have the best job in the world: being an agricultural educator.

Goodbye Juniata

Posted by Annette Sprenkel Apr 24, 2014

As I look back and reflect I think about how my student teaching internship has been the largest part of my life for not only the past 15 weeks but the past four years! Everything I have done my freshman, sophomore, and junior year of college was leading up to this time, this day, this moment, in which I would say goodbye to 119 students. As I think about the last 15 weeks I begin to realize the ultimately I needed them more than they needed me!

 

Everyday I would wake up after hitting my snooze 6 times. Even though I didn't want to wake up, I didn't want to get ready, I always wanted to see my students. The most rewarding part of my day was being greeted by a student. It was early, most of the students didn't want to be at school, but when they walked in they always told me good morning, and at that point it was no longer about me and my plans but about them and their plans. Not their plans for that day, but their plans for life! What I did in my classroom, everyday affected their future, and knowing that I had an impact on 119 futures is an incredible high.

 

Now that I am at the end of my student teaching intern, I realize that with my college education, with my degree, the opportunities are endless. There is so much that I could do with my life, but if at the end of the day I want to find true happiness, I'll teach Ag.

 

Over the past 15 weeks, if anything that I learned was valuable the most valuable is that nothing is more rewarding than being a teacher:


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Nothing is more rewarding than building a relationship so strong that students beg you to stay.

Nothing is more rewarding than having a lesson that is so deep, so rich, that students want to stay in your class.


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Nothing is more rewarding than being invited to a students house to see his/her SAE.

Nothing is more rewarding than when a student stays after class to to confide in you.

 

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Nothing is more rewarding than when a student tells you "Mrs. Sprenkel, I liked it when you taught, you made learning very easy!"

 

My student teaching experience with Mr. Mark Anderson at Elizabethtown High School was a tremendous experience that will benefit me for the rest of my life. Mr. Anderson is not only a great agriculture education instructor but, also one of the most authentic men I have known. He is truly a cooperating teacher that approaches the student teaching experience without an ego and the intention to develop an agriculture educator that "can get it done where it counts, in front of the students!" His ability to shape an educator in the period of time we are allotted is inspiring because he allows the student teacher to grow and develop in an experiential fashion that is approached with 22 years of experience when we sat down at lunch and at the end of each day to develop, plan, and evaluate my progress in this experience. He excels at critiquing and complimenting the various parts of lessons in a way that comes across as a chance for improvement and development, not criticism. In trying to change my approach, techniques, methods, and ideas he is able to present options for consideration that give the student teacher the flexibility to implement them without spoon feeding how it should be done. This created for me the opportunity to take his advice and put my spin or style on it to try it out and develop something that worked for me by incorporating his suggestions. His approach to agriculture education and instruction is proven in the results of his students achievements in the classroom, shop, FFA, and later in life's pursuits. I hope someday I am one of those students who reflect well upon him! He gave me every opportunity in the classroom, shop, greenhouse, FFA, and with SAE's that he had to offer, to develop what I hope to become as a dynamic agriculture educator. One of the best aspects of student teaching with Mr. Anderson was the attitude, skills, and awareness of the school as a community that might easily be overlooked. His relationship and standing in the Elizabethtown School District from the District Administrative Office, Principals Office including Deans and secretaries, all the way out to the maintenance department is one of the best examples I could have had to ensure I understand my role, place, and responsibilities in the school community. I was blessed with great students at Elizabethtown demonstrated by the students in the agriculture program, in FFA pursuits, and the general population. I did have the usual challenges with classroom management and individual students but, all that proved to me is students are the same today as when I was in high school. They are there to be educated, socialized, shaped, and molded into the next generation of citizens. Is that easy? No! Is it worth it? Yes! I know because I am a product of public education and high school, especially agriculture education programs including FFA and SAE's are one of the last, best chances to positively influence and impact students lives! I will be forever indebted to Mr. Anderson for the time, wisdom, attitude, influence, and friendship he shared with me! I truly benefitted from over 55 years of teaching experience during my student teaching internship with my cooperating teacher Mark Anderson and Ron Frederick as my University Supervisor. I am humbled and grateful for the time, patience, and effort they shared in furthering my development as an agriculture educator.

This is going to be a jumble but just roll with it

 

This is my third attempt to write a reflective blog on my experiences, so it is going to be a combination of all three.

 

How did I get here?

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Well, last spring when we were deciding what cooperating centers we were going to go to, I sat down with a good friend of mine. We looked at the list of schools and he circled between 5 and 10 of the places he thought I would do well at. I then decided what I WANT in my cooperating center and what I thought would help me GROW and SUCCEED. So, my two requirements were a multi-teacher department since I came from a one teacher department, and the opportunity to teach agricultural mechanics since I am not very strong in that area. I sent my emails out and waited for the responses. When I got one back from Mrs. Alexandra Barzydlo, I knew that was probably the place I was going to go. The response to my email was long, detailed and well thought out. I felt that if someone would go through that sort of effort to just email me back, then they would go through the same effort to make sure I succeeded during my student teaching experience, and boy, was that gut feeling right!

 

My first day teaching, I got a class that I started the first day of their new semester, so they didn't have Mrs. B as a teacher at all. I was going through my consequences and told them that they better listen up or else Mean Jeanne...uh I mean Mean Ms. Case will come out. At that moment, I realized that the transition had to occur. I was not a facilitator of workshops or a camp counselor, I was a teacher, a totally new role for me!

 

There was a lot of ups and downs with student teaching. The first week having a full teaching load just about killed me. It was when my first three weeks of lesson plans had about run out, the Ag Mechanics students were testing me, and ahh so many things to organize at once! And going into this student teaching experience -- organization was one thing I absolutely HAD to work on. A positive, is that my students did think I was really organized and they kept calling me little Mrs. B. Honestly though, the downs weren't really downs.. they were there to push me and for me to see how strong I was. There would be some days I was frustrated and tired, but there was never a day I didn't want to be there. The STUDENTS were why I wanted to be there. I worked my butt off in ag mechanics (one of my more scary classes content wise) and it really paid off.

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Another down was learning about some teacher perceptions of their own job. While, it was not really in the agricultural or technical department, those that I choose to have lunch with kind of had a negative outlook on their job which was something I struggled with. I was confused as to why they would choose a job then complain about it constantly. But, that just taught me that I need to block out the negativity of other people and focus on what makes me happy.

 

For ups....there are way too many and will be listed below for my "don't blinks".

 

Being in a multi-teacher department I had many people to converse with. Mrs. B was always there to lend an ear and give suggestions without being over bearing. She was really good at just letting me TRY things, then talking about if they worked or not. Mr. Stollar was very helpful with horticulture and ag mechanics. He had no problem running through things with me and making sure I knew how to explain the content or use the tools. Everyone was always so SUPPORTIVE and wanted me to have a great experience while I was there.

 

Overall, this was a phenomenal experience and I could not imagine being anywhere else. The students were seriously the best. They helped me out so much, even staying when they could have left for work release to help with an engine problem, or standing up for me and making other students listen, or just teasing me to make me smile. The students are above par. The teachers are awesome. It was a very good environment for me to be in with everyone wanting to make sure I was getting a good experience. Everyone had a different role in my success and it really helped to shape how my semester went.

 

Now, since I really like music, and this is what popped into my head the second time I tried to write this... here is a list of "Don't Blinks" inspired from the song "Don't Blink" by Kenny Chesney.

 

Don’t blink…….

Or you will miss out when you already have to say goodbye to one of your first classes.

Or you will miss out when they have given you a nickname that sticks. CaseMiss, Ms. Snapchat, CASE, and Mini Mrs. B.

Or you will miss watching your hooligan boys act mature at the ACES dinner.

Or you will miss when the whole entire mentality of a class changes from who the heck is this teacher making us do math, to hey this student teacher is pretty cool, I guess we want her around.

Or you will miss when a student you were nervous about having asks you for help for a very important application.

Or you will miss watching your students grow and mature and can see leadership qualities in others besides their friends.

Or you will miss the development of #bestfriend and #rolemodel

Or you will miss out on the opportunity to interact with some of the females through horseback riding

Or you will miss out on watching hostile individuals soften up and learn how to trust you.

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This is it..the end that leads to new beginnings

The End...

This is the final week of student teaching. It is over and I can't believe it to be so. This was one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging semesters of my college career. If I were to be completely honest, I wasn't sure that I would make it. When I was in high school, which seems like eternity ago I was asked what I wanted to be. As part of agriculture education teachers must have students fill out for form that deal with future career choice. My teacher Jon S , asked me what do you want to do? You sure do take a lot of our classes. My simple response was, "I want to be an Ag teacher". Ive never once changed my thoughts or my major. The greatest piece of advice he gave me and I will never forget it for as long as I live was, " You will want to quite, its going be hard, but don't for no other reason than to just do it, if you can't find a reason to go on, because you will be happy you did." That statement has helped me many a time. I have even said that to few cohort members that were doubting their choice that they have made. All I can say is that I am so thankful that I heard that advice.

  Here I am today. Final week of the most incredible experience. What a week it is too! I am helping where I can with banquet planning, materials, and organization. I kept the vet science class till the very end, in order to get the most out of this experience that I can. Practice, Practice ,Practice.

 

  I am also putting the final touches on my last assignments and it feels good. I literally had the biggest most dork smile on my face when I really got into laying out my action research. I kind of think it is pretty awesome. Students have so much to tell us if we only chose to see it. It may not come out verbally but its there nonetheless. Through observation, test, worksheets, class activities, peer interaction, it?s all there waiting for someone to see it. For that teacher that says yes I now my students and I adjust every class to be a productive positive experience.

 

 

  The students have taught me more than I could have ever dreamed of. I have seen them on good days, bad days, emotional days, sick days, and everyone in between. I feel very fortunate to have been in a school where behavior is rarely if ever an issue. I have amazing students that would do anything for a teacher that treats them with respect like they equals. I have the upmost respect for these kids. I will miss each and every student dearly. This has been hard. Many of them tell me they don't want me to leave, or ask me to come to their graduation. It pulls at my heart strings like nothing Iv ever encountered.  My objectives from this were to finish strong, work hard, soak up every moment with these amazing kids. I am so appreciative of my cooperating teacher for this opportunity and her willingness to make this a reality. Her support has been amazing. This is a great cooperating center that i would highly recommend to any student teacher. This program teaches everything. Mr. Howell and Mrs. Miller has one of the best small town programs that I have had the privilege of visiting. this school is also extremely receptive to student teachers. the faculty make you feel like family. They would help you with anything. When I went to do my interview for our assignment I was able to talk right to the superintendent. How freaking cool! Go Biglerville. I am in love with apple country, and Ag ed!

 

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Goodbye Gettysburg

Posted by Tyler Cremeans Apr 22, 2014

As my final week student teaching comes to a close, it leaves me with many feelings. I have experienced the joy of several students succeeding at their CDE competitions, passing exams, and getting accepted to college. I have experienced the pain and frustration of back-talking, classroom banter and messes, and students not having the desire to succeed. All things considered, I leave this experience a better person on so many levels.

 

I was initially nervous when selecting my cooperating center. I was pretty open to going to any school, but obviously wanted to live close to home. I took the recommendation from Dr. Ewing and Dr. Foster to visit Gettysburg High School. I was lucky to be paired with a man named Shawn Abma, who teaches in a two-teacher department with Bill Tindall. He is a Christian man with a family and has a personality similar to mine.

 

As we mapped out what I would be teaching throughout the experience, I started to get more and more excited. I ended up with Ag Science, Environmental Science, Horticulture, Animal Science, and Small Gas Engines. Ag Science would be the class I carried the longest period of time, and was my favorite group of students. The material the course offered was very diverse as well. My worst class was environmental science. The material for this course was just as interesting as ag science, but the group of students in the class tended to misbehave quite a bit. '

 

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To begin, I followed our pre-internship binder's recommendation of picking up 1 class each week. I admire those in the cohort who tackled the full course load from the start and carried it through the end. I remember the first day I taught my first class and how they didn't take me very seriously. The first day in each of my classes was usually a lot of murmuring and talking out. But things changed over the course of the semester and I established a nice relationship with each of my classes, even my more difficult environmental science class.

 

I have had the opportunity to go on several field trips with my school including several leadership conferences, ACES, SLLC, a strawberry farm, Taylor Greenhouses, a small local greenhouse business, the National Zoo right outside of DC, and to a stream to release our trout we have been raising. I got to take my private pesticide applicator exam with my horticulture class which was a fun way to learn along side my students.

 

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I think my biggest personal accomplishment was ending my environmental science class on a positive note. There were times when I left that class and didn't even want to come to school the next day. Yesterday was my first day not having them in class. I saw a few of them in the hall today and they said "where were you today?" I told them, and a few of them said that I should come back which made me feel good.


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At the beginning of the season I even helped with the baseball team, throwing batting practice and fielding ground balls. It was a good way to build rapport with students not even in any of my classes.

 

Through my experience, I was able to learn where my strengths and weaknesses lie. I still am unsure what I am going to do after I graduate, but if I am to go into the field of education I know I need to plan better, be more enthusiastic, stay on top of things, and above all be more organized. The teacher that I was inspired by in high school always said "organization is the key to success." He could not have been more right.

 

I will remember this experience and some of the individuals that played parts in it for the rest of my life. I am grateful that God helped place me here and for all of the help and support I have received from Mr. Abma, Mr. Tindall, other teachers in the building, the students, Dr. Foster, Dr. Ewing, Laura, and the rest of the Teach Ag '14 Cohort. Good luck to everyone in whichever direction they choose; not that any of them will need actual luck to succeed

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A year previously, we were eagerly in the student teaching placement process. Because I had never attended an agricultural program as a high school student, I visited about five different schools to get a feeling for all different types of programs. After a great visitation at Oley Valley and the approval by the Penn State program coordinators, the preparation began very early in the summer of 2013. As the fall semester concluded, we were finally ready to get going in the classroom!       

                                                                                                                                                                                                          


Oley Valley truly has an excellent agricultural program: two incredibly dedicated ag teachers, state-of-the art food science lab, a large greenhouse and FFA: Food For All Garden, and excellent community support. Oley is located in a very historic and fertile farming community in SE Pennsylvania.

 

The most prominent things I have learned from this experience is the time and life dedication it takes as an ag teacher and FFA advisor to sustain an amazing programs... great ag teachers are superheroes in my book! Secondly, I learned many classroom management techniques, with the strongest being getting to know every student

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My favorite experiences during my student teaching weeks was going on trips with the students. From the County Speaking CDE to the County Ag Career Fair to the walk tothe local meat store to the trip to the aquaculture farm, these were the most fun times with the students. ?Students remember experiences, not notes and lectures,? Mr. Deysher, my cooperating teacher, would say often. My favorite lessons were the ones that students could do hands-on activities. Whether it was a walk in the woods for our local ecosystem study, running around the practice field learning about adaptations in the predator-prey relationships, making tofu, or grooming a horse, these are the lessons that the students will most likely remember.


In conclusion, I would like to thank all my mentors within the Penn State program and at Oley Valley High School. Student teaching was a bit of a roller-coaster ride at times, but a lot of professional and personal growth occurred. I am also very thankful for all the open minds and helpfulness towards helping me find my niche in the agricultural

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field!

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Until next time? WE ARE! - PENN STATE!





                                                                                                                                                                    


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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