Use Your Influence to Groom the Next Generation of Agricultural Educators
During Christmas I watched as my son Carson played with his toys, making believe he was a great hunter out to capture dinosaurs. It took me back to my own youth. I often pretended to be a policeman, fireman, or soldier, much like many of you probably did. To the best of my memory however, I never recall playing ag teacher.
So when did the thought of a career as an agricultural educator first cross my mind? It was sitting in an ag class listening someone teach something that finally clicked, something I could use. It was having a teacher who seemed to care about getting to know me as an individual, who was the first to challenge me to be a leader. I would venture to say many of you had a similar experience.
There are many strategies floating around about how to recruit new ag teachers; good strategies that should not be ignored, but there is not doubt the most effective means of recruiting our replacements is to take an active role in sharing with our students and other potential teachers the possibilities of this great career.
High school students spend more time with their teachers than with any one else besides their peers. This means we have a great opportunity to make an impact on the career they consider. As ag teachers, we typically spend a lot of time and energy encouraging our students to consider careers in the agriculture industry, but very little, if any, talking about our own career. Isn’t it time we remember why we choose this profession and share that story with our students?
Likewise, friends in ag industry have probably approached many of you about considering a career in their field. How often do we consider sharing the merits of our career with them? Isn’t it time to promote our profession to all who could consider teaching?
As teachers we are the best recruiters for a new generation of agricultural educators. Never in the history of our profession has the need been greater, but also never before have there been more resources available to help. Make February 25, 2010, National Teach Ag Day, the day to share your love for our profession with others, but don’t let it stop there. Continue to share your professional story at every opportunity. The story that makes us agricultural educators by choice, not by chance.