Whether you’re a high school freshman or a college senior, we are excited to welcome you to the agricultural education profession! If you want to make a difference, ignite leadership, share your passion, strengthen agriculture, and to change lives, teaching agriculture is the perfect career choice for you! The difference and the impact you will make as a future agriculture teacher will be endless. On this page, you will find resources, tips and ideas to successfully prepare you for an exciting career in agricultural education.
Where are you in your journey to becoming an agriculture teacher? We have many tips and resources for the following:
Also, make sure to check out our Future Teacher Webinars for more information about becoming an agriculture teacher!
From the moment you walked into eighth grade career day, the question about what you want to do when you grow up is constantly being asked. Again, we are excited that you have decided to teach agriculture at such an early stage of your professional career. While you are still in high school, here are some things to consider to develop a firm foundation for your path toward a career in agricultural education.
Applying for Scholarships
One of the best ways to finance your post-secondary education is to apply for as many scholarships as you possibly can. Every year, thousands of dollars in scholarships go unclaimed simply because no one takes the time to fill them out. Even an hour of searching for scholarships can yield all types of scholarship opportunities. However, start looking as soon as possible! Starting your search early will ensure you have the best selection of scholarships to apply for along with time to complete your applications. For more tips and suggestions, here are 12 Tips for Winning a Scholarship.
Additionally, here are a handful of scholarships to get your search rolling:
Finding the Right College
Deciding which college or university you will go to will perhaps be the biggest decision you will make in your college career. The process of choosing a college is different for every student; you might be looking for a larger, Big 10-sized school while your friend might value smaller class sizes. Although there’s no magic formula for choosing a college, here are 15 Things to Consider When Choosing a College. Also, make sure to visit our Find a College page to find the perfect school where you can work toward an agricultural education degree
Building a Resume
It’s never to early to create a resume! A resume is simply a document that is used to present your education, work experience, and accomplishments when applying for jobs. While there is a lot information and opinions on the internet about resumes, here are some helpful resume tips to help you get started. Just remember that keeping your resume up-to-date is an unending task; as you grow as a professional and add more experiences and receive additional duties, your resume should reflect these changes. To get started with your resume, here’s a FREE Resume Builder offered by LiveCareer. In addition, you can follow this link for a resume guide geared specifically for teachers.
Talk to your Agriculture Teacher
If you’re thinking about teaching agriculture, then have a conversation about it with your own agriculture teacher! You can ask him or her questions about your path to joining the profession, where he or she went to school, or what his or her job is like. Additionally, your agriculture teacher might be willing to schedule a job shadowing or an internship experience for you. Finally, you might be able to develop an SAE that involves agricultural education and participate in the FFA agricultural education proficiency award or career development event with his or her guidance. If you don’t have an agriculture teacher where you go to school there are more than 11,000 agriculture teachers who would be willing to host you or talk with you. Contact the state agriculture teachers association president to find one near you.
With your high school diploma under your belt, you’re officially one step closer to becoming an agriculture teacher. College is an exciting time of your life where you’ll have the opportunity to meet new friends, build your professional network, and make life-long memories, However, it’s also an important preparation step in your goal of becoming an agriculture teacher. Here are a handful of things to take into consideration while in college.
Being Successful in College
“Going to college is not the same as being successful in college and completing a college degree,” says Lori Grandstaff, Vice President of WiseChoice.
Regardless of what school you will someday call your alma mater, it’s important to be successful in college so you can someday become a successful agriculture teacher.
Niagara University in New York offers 10 ways to be a successful in your first year of college, with the top four being:
To read all 10 ways to be a successful first year college student, click here.
Become a Teach Ag Ambassador
Every year, the National Teach Ag Campaign selects 12 passionate, enthusiastic individuals to serve as National Teach Ag Ambassadors. Teach Ag Ambassadors are responsible for communicating with a variety of audiences to recruit future agriculture teachers and to spread the Teach Ag message. This program is for individuals who are passionate about agricultural education and want to share their story as they use their enthusiasm to encourage others to consider a career in teaching agriculture. Click here to learn more about the application process! Applications are due in March every year.
Shadow an Agriculture Teacher
As the start of your career as an agriculture teacher gets closer and closer, it’s a good idea to shadow multiple agriculture teachers for a day or two to get a better understanding of where you want to teach. If you graduated from a traditional high school agriculture program, it might be a good idea to shadow an agriculture teacher who works at a career center. If your home program primarily focused on horticulture and plant science, exposing yourself to programs that teach different courses isn’t a bad idea either. To get some ideas of teachers who you might consider shadowing, talk to your agriculture teacher, your state’s supervisor of agricultural education or your college advisor.
Preparing for Student Teaching
If you ask any teacher who has ever student taught before, they will tell you that the experience comes with numerous joys and triumphs and a handful of challenges and frustrations. The National Teach Ag Campaign believes that a successful student teaching experience is a key component to starting a successful career in agricultural education. To learn more about how to get the most out of your time as a student teacher, click here to listen to a past Teach Ag webinar with guest speakers Mr. Matthew Eddy from Southeast Polk High School in Iowa and Mrs. Rachel Sauvola from New Richmond High School in Wisconsin.
Student teaching can sometimes be a financial burden, but resources do exist to help! Click here to apply for the NAAE Upper Division Scholarship for students completing their student teaching experience.
Student Teaching Tips and Advice
You are in the throes of student teaching! It can be overwhelming, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time. How do you get through your first true semester in the classroom and keep your sanity for graduation? Check out the following resources to help you get through your student teaching experience:
NAAE Student Membership
The National Association of Agricultural Educators is a group comprised of agricultural educators across the country that advocate for the profession. NAAE membership can begin during college for students studying agricultural education. Benefits include professional development opportunities, scholarships and more. It’s a great way to start building a strong network of agricultural education professionals before you start your career! Click here to sign up for NAAE student membership. Also, don’t forget to start a membership with your state affiliate to receive even more benefits.
Manage Your Finances
Whether you’re at a community college or a private university, furthering your education is a huge financial commitment. For a lot of students, it’s their first time managing money on their own and it can be overwhelming at times. Nationwide offers 10 Smart Money Management Tips for College Students. Some of the top tips include:
To read all ten tips, click here.
There are also federal programs to help future teachers pay for their schooling. The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant can assist you in paying for college in a high-need field in a low--income area. For the majority of states, agricultural education is considered a high-need field. To get more information and apply for the grant, click here.
Perhaps you’ve spent your entire college career thinking about the moment when you will finally be able to interview for your first teaching job. Although you may have been through interviews before, being mentally prepared for success during your interview is easier said than done. There’s a lot to think about before entering the interview room – from your posture and clothing to your answers to the questions and following up with the interviewer. Here are a handful of websites to visit to make sure you are full prepared to master your interview.
Finding an Agriculture Teacher Mentor
It’s been said that all successful people have a mentor, and the same statement can be made for successful agriculture teachers. The first year of teaching agriculture can be challenging, but with a positive attitude, an open mindset, and a mentor, you can hit your first year of teaching out of the park. If your state has an agriculture teacher mentoring program, sign up and participate. If your state doesn’t, ask another teacher – someone you look up to and has been teaching at least five years – to be your mentor. Establish a relationship with them, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about lesson plans, work-life balance, or classroom management. Samira DeAndrade once said “Mentors are not there to make us happy. They are there to guide us to the best of their knowledge.”
Creating a Professional Teaching Portfolio
Another crucial part of obtaining your first teaching position is developing an outstanding portfolio for your interview committee to review. Check out these links for some guiding tips, samples and much more!
In addition to these great resources, you can also find a portfolio generator to help you get started by clicking here.
You have your first teaching job! Along with the excitement of having your own classroom and students comes the daunting task of classroom and program management. Here are some resources to help you through the ups and downs of your first year in the classroom:
Also, check out the book, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry K. Wong and Rosemary T. Wong. You can click here to order it directly from Amazon!
For more resources for your classroom, click here to check out the NAAE Pinterest page!
Getting Your Advanced Degree
Presenters: Ms. Susan Wagner, Indiana, and Ms. Mary McCart, Connecticut
NAAE Student Member Benefits
Presenters: Mr. Scott Stone, NAAE President and Mr. Alan Green, Michigan State University