The National Association of Agricultural Educators, Inc.
1410 King Street, Suite 400, Alexandria, Virginia 22314

News & Views

Volume XLIV    No. 1 August/September 2001

Ideas for Keeping Beginning Agricultural Education Teachers in the Profession!

(Submitted at the editorís request by: Dr. Dick Joerger,
Assistant Professor of Agricultural Education,
University of Minnesota)

You are aware of the reports regarding the shortages of teachers, especially spot shortages in inner city and rural areas of the United States. There are, indeed, shortages of all types of career and technical education teachers (e.g., agricultural education, technology education, family and consumer sciences, trades and industry, business and marketing education), mathematics, science, and special education teachers in most parts of the country. Agricultural education leaders across the country are addressing the problem using a variety of strategies. For example, the National Association of Agricultural Educators and the American Association of Agricultural Education are currently taking high priority measures that will lead to an increased supply of preservice teachers and retention of a cadre of highly effective teachers. Additionally, the National FFA Organization forwards names of students indicating interest in becoming agricultural education teachers to teacher education program leaders and organizes many professional development activities.

Data from reports reveal that up to 50 to 60 percent of all beginning teachers leave the profession within the first five to six years! Is it really possible that we loose about half, or more, of our agricultural education teachers early in their careers? To explore this more personally, take an inventory of the teachers that started teaching at the same time as you. How many are still teaching? How many have left for other occupations? When and why did they leave teaching? Likely, you found that most of them left during their early years in the profession, a time when more support and assistance may have kept many of them in the profession.

Current teachers can have a major influence on beginning teachersí choices to stay in the teaching profession! Here are some things all of us can do to help keep effective beginning and/or returning teachers in the profession.

  • Make the beginning or returning teacher feel welcome at all gatherings! Go out of your way to introduce yourself and others to them. Provide opportunities for them to share about themselves, their school and program. Include them and offer to share rides to activities and events.

  • Make yourself available to support and to listen to their joys, concerns, successes, and non-successes.

  • Provide ideas of how the beginning teacher can gain support from the parents of their students and community leaders.

  • Share the sources of textbooks, workbooks, and other teaching materials. Go out of your way to place ordering information and materials into their hands. Assist them in selecting materials.

  • Provide names of dependable vendors along with ordering information and materials for securing supplies and equipment.

  • Share instructional and curricula guides and materials.

  • Offer ideas on how they can acquire clerical assistance from students and/or school personnel.

  • Provide dates and materials for local, area, state and national student organization activities and state, regional and national agricultural education teachers association activities.

  • Encourage them to get to know other agriculture teachers.

  • Encourage them to participate actively in the U.S. Ag Ed Listserv.

  • Present them with a personal copy of the Local Program Success (LPS) Manual.

  • Encourage them to participate in beginning teacher programs.

Research conducted by Dr. Bill Camp and Dr. Betty Heath-Camp from Virginia Tech has produced a set of activities, needs, interventions, perceptions, resources and communications that can have a moderate to critical impact on the satisfaction and comfort level of beginning teachers. Your familiarity with these items can provide an understanding of teacher needs and can lead to many informative and useful conversations and communications with beginning agricultural education teachers. These items include:

  • Feeling in control of their program

  • Believing their principal supports them and the program

  • Experiencing satisfaction from successful classroom activities

  • Being self-confident in their classroom teaching

  • Seeing students act with respect toward the teacher

  • Seeing students succeed

  • Having a job that allows creativity

  • Balancing professional and personal responsibilities and having effective time management skills

  • Having sufficient funds for materials, textbooks, workbooks, and supplies

  • Being familiar with the subject matter they are assigned to teach

  • Feeling that their peers respect them

  • Observing their students working for a better future

  • Receiving positive feedback from the students

  • Experiencing support for the program from local businesses

  • Seeing students show pride in their accomplishments

  • Receiving positive feedback from peers

  • Receiving positive feedback from the principal

  • Being familiar with the job tasks expected of them

  • Having students who are eager to participate in activities

  • Attaining personal and professional goals

  • Receiving expressions of gratitude from students

Retention of beginning and experienced teachers is vital to the future of agricultural education. We each must do our part to maintain a profession consisting of the best-educated teachers in America! Upcoming articles will focus on the needs of beginning teachers; stages of teacher development; elements of a comprehensive beginning teacher program for agricultural educators; selecting and preparing mentors; and strategies for delivering various forms of beginning teacher assistance, support and evaluation.


Ideas Unlimited


Teacher Spotlight

Regional Updates

Sue Poland
President Elect Candidate

Russell Watson
President Elect Candidate

Sarah Osborn Welty
President Elect Candidate

2001 NAAE Convention Schedule

NAAE Convention Registration Form

2001 Upper Division Ag Ed Scholarship Winners

Hamilton-Locke Contest Winners

FFA Convention Teacher Workshops

Council -- PGS Update

Washington Beat

New NAAE Organizational Members

Dates and Events

Acro Publishing

Wanted:  Agriculture Teachers!

President Elect

see pages
5, 6, & 7


NAAE Convention



Hotel Monteleone

New Orleans,


August/September 2001
NAAE News & Views
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