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Grow Your Own Ag Teacher

Identify Future Agriculture Teachers

Tagging a future agriculture teacher is easy once you know where to look and you have the resources to support the tagged individual. As a community member, agriculture teacher, alumni affiliate, or stakeholder you play an important role in identifying the next generation of agriculture teachers. Here are some great ways to identify and Tag a future agriculture teacher:

Agriculture Teachers/State Staff/Post-Secondary Faculty

  • Seek out students in your programs and let them know they would make a great agriculture teacher.
  • Talk about why you love being an agriculture teacher.
  • Direct them to state and national Teach ag resources like the Teach Ag website.
  • Follow-up with a personalized letter that outlines why you believe they should become an agriculture teacher. See our examples in the Nomination Letter Templates section (below) to help you get started
  • Provide teaching opportunities for that student during their high school/collegiate experience that will nurture their teaching skills.

Alumni Affiliates/Community Supporters/Agribusiness

  • If you are connected with a local ag program be on the lookout for students who display teacher-like qualities; love of agriculture, enjoy helping other students, organized, positive, professional, dependable. Of course not all future agriculture teachers are enrolled in an agricultural education class or even have access to agriculture education. There are plenty of opportunities to tag a future agriculture teacher: 4-H youth development activities, related student organizations (DECA, BPA, Student Council, Debate, etc.), commodity ambassador programs, and basically any other activity that combines agriculture, leadership, and working with others.
  • After identifying potential future agriculture teachers, share with them why you think they would make a great agriculture teacher.
  • Send them a personalized letter outlining why you believe they should become an agriculture teacher. See this example in the Nomination Letter Templates section (below) to help you get started.
  • Contact an agriculture teacher in your state who can mentor the student.
  • Set-up a Teach Ag booth during FFA Convention. Provide resources, teacher testimonials, scholarships, University Ag Ed contact information, and Tagged to Teach Ag promotional items. Create stickers like the ones found here.

Many current and soon-to-be agriculture teachers have indicated they chose agricultural education because their agriculture teacher said they should. Use our letter templates to let someone know they would make a great agriculture teacher.

Nomination Letter Example from Community Member
Nomination Letter Example from Ag Teacher

Nurture Future Agriculture Teachers

In an effort to attract high school students into the agricultural education profession, many states have implemented a Teach Ag workshop. The workshops are usually conducted during the state FFA convention and facilitated by university faculty and/or current agriculture teachers. Some workshops are open to all interested students while others are invitation only after being nominated by an agriculture teacher.

Get Involved:

  • Contact the AFNR supervisor in your state and find out how you can nominate a student for the workshop.
  • Offer to drive the participating students to the workshop or sponsor the cost to attend.
  • Volunteer to speak at the workshop and talk about the important relationship between the agriculture teacher and the community.
  • Help start a Teach Ag workshop in your state. For templates, examples, outlines, and activities from other states go to our Teach Ag Workshop Center.

Ag Ed Related Career Development Events (CDE)
Apprentice programs are a great way for high school students to get exposed to a career field before they commit. Students who are considering Ag Ed have a couple of opportunities through the National FFA Organization to learn about and get a taste for being an agriculture teacher.

Agricultural Education Proficiency Area Entrepreneurship/Placement
Related to education and extension, including, but not limited to: youth mentoring, agricultural education departmental assistants, PALS mentors and student coordinators, students developing and conducting informational materials and presentations for civic organizations and school aged youth, and students who are involved in SAEs surrounding educating the public about the broad topics of agriculture, agriculture education and the FFA.

Ag Ed Career Development Event (CDE)
Several states have implemented an Agricultural Education CDE. The Ag Ed CDE is designed to provide students with the opportunity to explore a career in agricultural education, to develop a framework of the learning process, communicate an unbiased presentation, and utilize a lesson plan for proper teaching outcomes. At this time Arizona, Oklahoma, Indiana, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Florida have an Ag Ed CDE.

For more information about these CDE areas contact your state FFA leadership or state agriculture, food and natural resources (AFNR) supervisor. A complete list of FFA state websites can be obtained here.

Support Future Agriculture Teachers

Please feel free to email additional scholarship opoprtunities that relate to those majoring in Agricultural Education to Ellen Thompson, National Teach Ag Coordinator, so they can be posted here.

Future agriculture teachers need a fan club. They need you to support them along the journey. Here are some great ways to help them along the way.

  • Provide Letters of Recommendation for college admissions and scholarships
  • Transport them to Ag Ed events like Teach Ag workshops, college visit days, and job shadowing opportunities
  • Share scholarship opportunities
  • Resume critique
  • Job Interview tips/practice
  • Proper Interview attire assistance
  • Arranging practice teaching opportunities
  • Lining up job shadowing experiences and helping them fulfill Ag Ed Proficiency/State Level Ag Ed CDE hours
  • Sharing relevant news articles and tips about Ag Ed
  • Work collaboratively with parents and administrators to highlight the great career options in Ag Ed
  • Send encouraging letters/emails/posts to future agriculture teachers periodically.

Retain Agriculture Teachers

Professional development can play an important role in job satisfaction, especially for agriculture teachers. Given the plethora of subjects in which agriculture teachers must be proficient, professional growth is vital to retaining a quality teacher.

As an alumni member and/or community supporter you can assist the agriculture teacher in attending these learning experiences by offering scholarships to cover registration and travel. You may also want to show your support of such activities by lobbying the school administration on behalf of the teacher. Many school districts are decreasing or eliminating professional development funds for teachers.

Here is a list of some of the great professional development opportunities offered nationally. Most states also have a summer conference along with state-level continuing education programs. Talk with your agriculture teacher and see what you can do to help them achieve their professional development needs that they will in turn bring back to the students, school, and community.

For more opportunities provided by NAAE, visit the Professional Development section of this website.

Former FFA members and interested adults are a natural resource of help and support for FFA advisors and their students. A National FFA Alumni Affiliate helps to rally the local community around agricultural education and FFA activities.

FFA Alumni Affiliates also provide a helping hand to FFA advisors in coordinating activities for the local FFA chapter.

Learn more

Being an agriculture teacher is extremely demanding. One key to retaining a quality agriculture teacher is helping them lighten the responsibility load. Here are some great ways to support your local agriculture teacher:

  • Chaperone school trips and take responsibility for distributing necessary forms and contacts
  • Coach and coordinate Career Development Event (CDE) Teams. Click here for a complete list of National FFA CDE's and rules.
  • Serve as a guest speaker.
  • Host a classroom tour.
  • Present to the school board information about the importance of the Ag Ed program.
  • Arrange media exposure for the ag program.
  • Host an FFA Chapter meeting by coordinating the food and activities.
  • Work with the ag teacher to create a program wish list. Distribute the wish list and help the ag teacher fulfill the list.
  • Offer to cater food for late night practices or events.
  • Coordinate shifts to help out during events or busy times (fruit delivery, clean-up days, retreats, field trips, landscaping projects, labs, etc.)
  • Develop promotional materials and handouts about the Ag program.
  • Work with the students to recognize the teacher throughout the year and show appreciate for all their hard work.
  • Help finance professional development opportunities for the teacher.

Need additional ideas or don't see what you are looking for? Email ethompson.naae@uky.edu

 

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