The past 14 weeks have flown by while having the opportunity to Student Teach at Mifflinburg Area High School. Mifflinburg is a hustling bustling small town on Route 45 nestled in Union County, central Pennsylvania Mifflinburg at its peak was the Buggy Capital of the World, and manufactured thousands of Buggies. Mifflinburg has not left its roots of Agriculture and American Traditions, buggies still run up and down the streets of town carrying Mennonite and Amish Community Members. When it comes to Mifflinburg High School I by far had the best cooperating teachers possible Mr. Chuck Kessler, 28 years of service, and Mrs. Lindsay Spurrier, 1 year of service. It was amazing to have someone with so much experience and expertise in Agricultural Education, and a wealth of knowledge in everything from Advanced Ag Mechanics to Advanced Veterinary or Environmental Construction. It was equally as great to have someone who had been in my shoes just a short time ago, and looked at a lot of things the same way I did.
While teaching at Mifflinburg Area I had the opportunity to teach 105 Students, in 7 courses daily. I bounced back and forth in from the classroom to the shop and around town for experiential learning activities and loved every minute of it. I taught everything from Electrical Wiring and Agricultural Building Construction, to Environmental Resources, and Landscaping. Mr. Kessler said when I began that he has never had a bad day in his 28 year career. After my months of service I have to agree there was never a bad day. There were bad periods, and rough busy days but never bad ones. Putting an emphasis on the students who needed a little extra help or a little extra supervision really helped me have a positive experience. It also made me feel like I was making a difference, seeing their success and involvement in the class.
While many schools are looking for Agricultural Sciences Educators to be expansions of the science department, or just science teachers with FFA, Mifflinburg looks for nothing like that. During an interview with one of the schools Administrators there was an opening for me to ask questions, my first question was "What does Mifflinburg look for it students graduating from Agricultural Education to have when they leave Mifflinburg?" Her response was that they do not want science teachers they want Agriculture Educators. The administration wants students who are literate in agriculture, with career or real world ready experiences. They want students to be able to leave with skills that allow them to get a career out of high school or go to college for Agriculture. She said students should be able to make informed decisions about agriculture, food, and natural resources. I think this information makes me love Mifflinburg more than most other programs. Mifflinburg admin stators are very involved in the program and know we integrate math, science, reading, writing, English, and other subjects into the program but remain with a mission of educating students for life long learning in agriculture. Knowing this it make sense that the teachers work to meet everyone's needs within the program.
Working to meet the needs of all students to be successful through variated instruction really provides the best opportunities for students in Mifflinburg. While working there I enjoyed getting to work with the oldest FFA Chapter in the Commonwealth, established in 1930. Working with a group of such passionate students was amazing. The program is truely student run, projects and activities are only done by student selection.
The Mifflinburg Agricultural Education Program is constantly advancing and changing things but keeps up with timeless traditional skills like electrical wiring, engine care, and landscaping. Having a community of supporters whose parents, grandparents, and children have gone through the program helps assure there will be a program for another 83 years. u