Ever wondered what it's like to be an agriculture teacher? Follow our bloggers as they record the joys, challenges, and everything in between about teaching agriculture in the United States. We've got a good mix of programs, from urban to rural, plus folks teaching in high schools, a college instructor, and even a couple of students who are preparing to get their degrees and venture into the classroom next year.
Click the photo of each blogger to see their bios or to see only their blog posts.
Southeast Polk High School and Ag Program:
See Matt's blog posts
Southeast Polk High School
Pleasant Hill, IA
Ag Teacher for 13 years
Hometown: Osceola, IA
BS and M.S. Agricultural Education, Iowa State University
The Southeast Polk High School operates on an 8 period day serving 1800+ students; each period is 45 minutes. There are approximately 155 Ag Ed Students/FFA members. SE Polk has 100% FFA membership and 100% student enrollment in SAE projects and has a single teacher department. Students utilize Ag Experience Tracker for their SAE programs. The Ag Department also contains a Greenhouse an Animal Learning Center housed on the Iowa State Fair grounds. The Animal Learning Center consists of a herd of 27 cows that are cared for by the Advanced Animal Science class. The Southeast Polk High School may be considered urban, suburban and rural because of the diverse population in the area coupled with the large amount of Horticulture and Animal Science Industries. There is a tremendous amount of economic and agricultural diversity.
Mr. Eddy’s passion for being an ag teacher is best summarized by a favorite quote of his.
“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt
Getting To Know Mr. Eddy:
My favorite time of day is… Start of the day before kids arrive – I never know how it will turn out, but the potential is exciting. It’s also quiet and I can organize my thoughts at my desk.
My favorite class to teach is… Ag Science – it’s fun because the kids don’t know anything and everything is new to them.
I love it when the students… React to something I have done/said/showed them and then become curious and the questions start to flow.
Outside of the classroom I enjoy… Family, Billiards and golf (usually only at ag teacher related events)
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See Wes's blog posts
Sutherlin High School,
Ag Teacher for 6 years
Hometown: Sutherlin, OR
MS Agricultural Education,
HBS General Agriculture and Animal Science
Oregon State University
Sutherlin High School and the Agriculture Program:
Sutherlin High School is on a seven-period day semester schedule. In the one teacher ag department each day includes two sections of Introduction to Agricultural Science, which is a freshmen class, Agricultural Biology that meets the sophomore science requirement in the state, Horticulture/Forestry, Advanced Animal Science that juniors and seniors receive college credit for and Ag Welding. There are approximately 120-150 students enrolled in ag classes. The Ag Department utilizes an onsite greenhouse and 11-acre land lab for FFA and SAE activities. In southwestern Oregon livestock are the predominant agricultural commodity. Forestry and timber have been major economic influences in the past. Currently viticulture and vineyards are the fastest growing agriculture related operations.
Mr. Crawford loves being an ag teacher because... “I’ve never had the same day twice (or the same class period, for that matter). I get to meet awkward freshmen and watch the development through their high school experience. I am a firm believer that agricultural education is the best way to strengthen and support the agricultural industry.
Getting to Know Mr. Crawford:
My favorite time of day is… at the start of the class period. Any of them.
My favorite classes to teach are… challenging, advanced courses that take students deep into the learning – places they didn’t think they could go. But the Introduction to Agricultural Science class is a kick most days too.
I love it when the students… have genuine ah-ha moments or surprise me with their creativity.
Outside of the classroom I enjoy… pointless fiction, technology and all the frustration that comes with it, and outdoor activities with good friends.
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See Jessie's blog posts
Page High School
Ag Teacher for 4 years
Hometown: Castalian Springs, TN
Bachelor of Science from Middle Tennessee State University
Brief Description of the Page High School Ag Program:
At Page High School, classes are taught during a 7 period day, following a traditional school year calendar. The agriculture courses offered are Vet Science, Small Animal Care and Agriscience. There are 101 students enrolled in the ag program. Page High School consists of a shop, greenhouse, and a future small animal lab for hands on student learning. Page High School is 45 minutes from the Walking Horse Capitol of the World and an hour from the Nursery Capitol of the World. It is also ranked as a Blue Ribbon School and listed on Newsweek and US World News’ Top High School’s list. Page High School is only one of the two ag programs in Williamson County, that has a full-time ag program. Williamson County’s top agricultural commodities are cattle and calves as well as forage crops. There are 13,424 Tennessee FFA members located in three unique regions. The top 5 Commodities in TN are Cattle, Soybeans, Broilers, Greenhouse/Nursery and Other Crops.
Ms. Hartle loves being an ag teacher at Page High School because…
“It’s like being paid to be an FFA member! Being a teacher is important because it is what prepares everyone in the world, regardless of their future profession. Teaching agriculture means my job is one of the most crucial, considering the necessity of agriculture in our lives. The subject matter is vast and varied – it never gets boring! Couple that with the experience of FFA and I’m happy in the mornings when I get up for work!”
Getting to Know Ms. Hartle:
My favorite time of day is… After school during a CDE practice, at a CDE, or on an FFA trip.
My favorite class to teach is… Wildlife Management, because it’s fun to talk about on a daily basis and the students already have an interest in it.
I love it when the students… Put on their FFA jackets for the first time.
Outside of the classroom I enjoy… Movies, road trips, concerts, scrapbooking, 18th century living history events.
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See Tiffany's blog posts
Essex County Vocational Technical Schools—West Caldwell Tech Campus
West Caldwell, NJ
Ag Teacher for 3 years
Hometown: Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Bachelor’s of Science Degree:Animal Science
M. Ed Agricultural and Science Education, Rutgers University
Brief Description of the Essex County Vocational Technical School—West Caldwell Tech Campus:
I teach Exploratory Agricultural Science (9th grade), CASE AFNR (10th grade), CASE Animal Science (11th grade), and CASE Plant Science (12th grade). My schedule is 2, 3-period blocks per day plus 2 preps and lunch. I teach 9th and 10th grade in the morning block, and 11th and 12th grade in the afternoon block. Teaching 2 separate classes and grades at the same time (especially when it is 2 CASE classes) is a bit challenging, but my students and I make it work and it allows me to see all of my students every day. Here in NJ we are on a 10-month, 180-day school year, and I do not have any extended days in the summer. My program has about 50 students and we maintain a small but active FFA chapter on both the chapter and state level. The ag facilities at my school consist of a combination classroom/science lab and a greenhouse. The county that I teach in does not have any farms, so the program has formed partnerships with the county department of parks and recreation to get the students out in the community for field learning experiences and SAE placements. I teach primarily urban, minority students who do not come from ag backgrounds, so these partnerships are my students’ only chance to get real world experience with agriculture.
Ms. Morey loves being an ag teacher because... “No two days are ever the same and I get to teach material that is both fun and interesting for my students.”
Getting to Know Ms. Morey:
My favorite time of day is… 3rd period when most of the freshmen in the exploratory ag science class leave and the sophomore AFNR class and I can delve into more challenging labs and activities in the classroom and greenhouse!
My favorite class to teach is… Animal Science!
I love it when the students… Find something that they learned in class so interesting that they will choose to learn more about it on their own!
Outside of the classroom I enjoy…Horseback riding, running, cycling, the beach, and spending time with family and friends.
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See Patrick's blog posts
Chino Valley High School
Chino Valley, AZ
Ag Teacher for 11 years
Hometown: Peoria, AZ
Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Education – University of AZ - 2002
Masters in Educational Technology – Northern AZ University – 2007
Masters in Educational Leadership – Northern AZ University - 2010
Brief Description of the Chino Valley High School and Agriculture Program:
I currently teach freshman, juniors and seniors. The classes are Applied Biological Sciences 1-2 and a dual enrollment class in Agribusiness and Ag Mechanics through Yavapai College. We have a four-day week, which is nice but doesn’t allow for a lot of planning or free time during the day. Our classes are 1 hour each.
Our program has several labs: a fully operational 52 acre farm where we run a production hay operation, a fish hatchery where we produce and market tilapia, a greenhouse where we produce and market tomatoes, and a shop where students design and weld projects for sale.
Chino Valley is currently is in between of a small farming community and large city. We have several small farms left but most of the land has gone towards development. If the economy hadn’t hit when it did I believe that our town would be much bigger. The agriculture in our area is mainly greenhouses, welding and fabrication shops, agribusinesses such as feed stores, and ranching.
Getting To Know Mr. Wellert:
My favorite time of day is… It depends sometimes it is a certain class that I enjoy. Sometimes it is the end of it because I have had that kind of day and I will not lie all of us will have a bad teaching day. I enjoy visiting with fellow faculty members and interacting with them during breaks and lunch as well. I find that at times SAE visits make the days longer but I always leave them excited and with more energy than before!
My favorite class to teach is… Freshman! They come in with such a clean slate that you can shape them into anything you want. They are excited about the ag class and also interested in being a part of something new! While teaching the freshman I find myself often remembering my current seniors as freshman and how they have been successful. It gives me excitement and hope for each of them!
I love it when the students… Share their successes with me. Whether it is them coming back as an adult or being a part of a student’s State winning creed event or SAE project! Sharing in success and even reminiscing with these students is what I find rewarding. Hearing you are doing an excellent job from your colleagues, admin, and parents is also quite exciting!
Outside of the classroom I enjoy… I especially enjoy my wife (Leanne) and our 17 month old son (Zac). Spending time with them is one of the most important things I do every day. They remind me of what is truly important! Outside of family I find it important to make time for friends. Spending time with them helps me to work through problems and also provides an outlet to forget things that may be weighing on my mind. I also enjoy watching sports, playing fantasy football, watching professional wrestling, playing video games, and the history channel.
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