Teach Ag Campaign Update
Greatest Student Impact: Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators
The National Teach Ag Campaign has selected the Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE) as the winners in the National Teach Ag Day contest in the “Greatest Student Impact” category.
PAAE held Teach Ag workshops at the Agricultural Cooperation Encourages Success (ACES) Conference in February. This conference, which took place on two different weekends, drew 985 Pennsylvania FFA members, each of whom participated in a Teach Ag workshop.
PAAE officer Krista Pontius helped organize the event, but she says it was truly a group effort, with nine agriculture teachers or student teachers presenting workshops and still other PAAE members and officers involved in the planning and organization.
One workshop had students be an ag teacher for a day – using provided supplies to do things like make a soil profile or tie a ribbon and then teach it to the rest of the class. Another workshop had the kids draw the “ideal” ag teacher, listing desired characteristics.
“We really left it up to the creativity of whoever was doing it,” said Pontius. “We decided at the NAAE convention that we were going to do it, so we sort of had a plan of attack when we got home. I think the teachers (facilitators) had as much fun as the students. It was such a success; we definitely hope to continue it.”
National Teach Ag Day is part of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an effort to raise awareness of the need for agricultural educators in the United States and to celebrate the contributions agricultural educators make in the classroom every day. For more information about the National Teach Ag Campaign, visit www.naae.org/teachag.
Hurried and Harried
National Teach Ag Campaign Coordinator
It seems that every agriculture teacher I have talked to in the last few weeks is echoing the same tune “This is the busiest year I’ve ever had.” It does appear that each year is more hectic and jam packed than the one before. I imagine some of that has can be attributed with the do everything personality type that most ag teachers possess. It’s a blessing and a curse of the job or maybe as A Day in the Life Blogger Matt Eddy puts it being an ag teacher is an “Addiction” to which there appears to be no real cure. Whatever the case everyone is definitely doing more with less money, less time, and in some cases less support.
The National Teach Ag Campaign is also off to a busy and productive start. By the time this article is published the newly formed National Teach Ag Campaign Task Force will have met for a second time. The Task Force consists of 17 volunteers representing all six NAAE regions from various connections to agriculture education. The task force has agriculture teachers, teacher educators, state staff, agriculture education undergraduates, secondary administrators, and agriculture education affiliates who are working together to provide a national pulse on the state of agriculture education recruitment and retention efforts with the goal of sharing resources, identifying trends, and providing feedback on Teach Ag Campaign initiatives.
The National FFA Convention was once again a great success for the Teach Ag Campaign. In addition to the 400+ students who participated in the Cash Bus game, 200+ students attended one of two Teach Ag workshops and I was able to represent the Teach Ag Campaign at both the ATA Conclave and the FFA Alumni meeting. The 2nd annual poster build contest was a hit and the Teach Ag Ambassadors that facilitated the Teach Ag booth were outstanding. They are a positive example of the future generation of agriculture teachers.
As we begin the holiday season I hope that you will take a few minutes and reflect on the vital role that you play in so many students lives. I also encourage you to identify potential ag teachers in your classroom as well as sharing with your school and community the reasons you love being an ag teacher. I know you are busy, so taking a moment to be thankful for the great profession you work in might just be the boost you need to get through a hectic and harried day.
If you are attending the NAAE convention in St. Louis remember to attend the NEW NAAE Networking reception. If you will arrive after 7pm Tuesday, November 15th send me an email and I will set aside a ticket for you. It is going to be a wonderful opportunity to meet and greet agriculture teachers outside your usual crowd.
As always please send me your recruitment and retention ideas. Have a joyous holiday season!