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.
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.
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.