A career as an agricultural educator is more than just a job, it’s a meaningful career in which you can help today’s students become tomorrow’s leaders.
Katherine Bell, Logan Heiby, Wyatt Jones, & Frances Nicol: Why Teach Ag?
Agriculture, the nation’s largest employer with more than 22 million people working in some area. It’s what you wear, what you eat, and what keeps the world working. Each day new innovations are being introduced to increase production and efficiency. Agriculture touches every aspect of your day whether you realize it or not. In order to maintain this level of efficiency, educators are needed to instill the knowledge necessary for this advancement to proceed.
Agricultural education teaches students about agriculture, food, and natural resources. Through these subjects, agricultural educators teach students a wide variety of skills, including science, math, communications, leadership, management, and technology. These areas of education prepare students for over 300 careers in the field of agriculture ranging from communications to engineering. Agricultural education offers this instruction through classroom, laboratory, and career development events. Educators do all this while making a noticeable, positive difference in each student’s life.
When the students go off into the real world, their core agriscience classes follow them into whatever industry they decide to pursue. Whether they enter an agriculture-related career or not, the whole world needs education on where their food comes from and how agriculture plays an important role in their daily lives, and these students can informally educate people about what they have learned.
Agriscience education starts in the classroom with students. To some students, teachers can be their biggest role models. Teachers prepare the next generation of agriculturalists. These students truly are the future. They are the ones that will figure out how to feed a growing population. They will develop the best technology for farming methods. They will raise the best animals and learn the most efficient ways to raise and market their livestock. Teachers give them the tools to be successful and provide them with the base knowledge and passion to change the world and carry the future of agriculture.
Tania Burgos: Why Teach Ag?… From My Perspective
Eugenio María de Hostos, a Puerto Rican educator, sociologist, and philosopher said “La agricultura es la espina dorsal de un pueblo” which translates to: “agriculture is the backbone of a country”. Food is a human necessity and is provided by agriculture. As the world keeps changing and developing, the agriculture industry needs to keep evolving.
Last year I was at a conference about agriculture and higher education. The presentation of one of the speakers included topics related to traditional agriculture and the challenges agriculture faces today. The slide on his presentation that caught my attention said: “our challenge: people don’t want to be educated”. I asked to myself: is that true? Is that the reality we live in? I had to disagree with the statement from the presentation. Instead of people not wanting to be educated, I think the form people are being educated with needs an update. Agriscience education offers innumerous options to touch people lives and educate them. An important aspect of teaching agriculture is that students will learn by doing.
Agriscience educators have a social commitment and responsibility of preparing the future agriculturalists who will face agricultural challenges. Education is essential to the development of a person as a whole. As an agricultural educator you can have a positive influence and impact on others. Agriscience teachers provide an atmosphere for students to develop not only content knowledge, but leadership and confidence. You will be inspiring and transforming minds this way, guiding them to discover the ample opportunities that fall under the broad term of agriculture. Agriculture encompasses an immense amount of career fields, from engineering, animal science, production agriculture, economics, business and plant pathology, the opportunities are endless. In perspective, 17.3 million jobs were related to agriculture in total U.S. employment in 2014. There is a high demand in agricultural related jobs including agricultural education.
Agriculture has multiple benefits, economically, physically and mentally. In Puerto Rico the economic crisis has had a direct impact on job opportunities and career decisions. Stories from educated people with different degrees are realizing the importance of agriculture. In Puerto Rico is becoming more common to see people with education in other careers moving to agriculture jobs or starting their own agricultural related businesses. For example, the 2012 Agriculture Census from Puerto Rico and Ohio shows an increase in agricultural products sold compared to 2007. Imagine the impact that a person could have had if they would experience a chance in agriculture. You can be the person in charge of firing up the interest of people for agriculture.
When I moved from Puerto Rico to Ohio to attend Ohio State University, my career plan was to work as a researcher or in the private industry. I had a rigorous plan of what steps I needed to follow to get a master’s degree, a PhD, and in what subject I would look for jobs. While I was a teaching assistant for the introduction to soils laboratory, I discovered my passion for teaching. I noticed it was rewarding to share my knowledge and passion for agriculture and soils with others. Therefore I began to look for options where I was going to be able to share that passion. My unyielding desire to be an agriscience teacher is getting closer to become a reality. Ohio State gave me the opportunity to fulfill my desire to attend graduate school and get a degree in soil science. It also allowed me to discover my enthusiasm for education; therefore, I want to use my educational and personal background to promote agriculture in Ohio. What moves me to teach agriculture is the hands-on activities I will be able to do with the students, the growth shown by agriculture students, and to make a difference in other people’s life.
Teaching agriculture contributes to a fundamental aspect of a country’s economy. We need to support agriscience education programs because they are shaping our agricultural future. There is nothing more rewarding than the liberty you feel by working within nature and encouraging young minds to do the same. As an agriscience educator you will be providing a base for the students to become our future leaders. I will use this precious opportunity to impact others and have a rewarding and vivacious career…TEACH AG!
Kayla Walls: Why I Will Teach Ag
A question I get often in regards to my career choice is, “Why teach ag?” I find this question to be extremely difficult to answer and therefore, I usually choose to say, “Why not?”
Growing up in a small town on a quantity grain farm, I have been involved with agriculture for as long as I can remember. However, my main role on the farm dealt with the animals—I showed quarter horses at the local and state levels for over twelve years and was responsible for caring for the horses, steers, hogs, dog, and cats. My love for animals sparked my initial interest in being a veterinarian. For the next few years, my thoughts about potential careers drifted anywhere from cardiology to agribusiness. It was not until high school when I found out that I wanted to be an ag teacher.
My older sister first introduced me to FFA. As she made her way through different career development events and worked tirelessly on her supervised agricultural experience, I knew that I wanted to be to be a member of the Parkway FFA Chapter. Upon meeting my teacher, Mr. Post, at FFA Camp before my freshman year, I was intimidated. Little did I know on the first day of school that ag class would soon be my favorite part of the day and Mr. Post would become one of my biggest role models.
A year later I asked Mr. Post, “Can I be you when I grow up?” From then on, he has always encouraged my efforts of becoming an ag teacher. The session before I received my State FFA Degree my Junior year, the speaker mentioned the need for agriscience educators. During that whole segment, Mr. Post smiled at me and said, “Kayla, are you listening?” Nowadays, Mr. Post often sends me links dealing with the nationwide shortage of agriscience educators or inspirational videos like “So God Made an Ag Teacher.” Knowing that I have the support of my own teacher helps me in preparation for my future career. I realize that whenever I get myself into a bind I will always have him to calm me down because he has, in his own words, “been there, done that.”
I want to be an ag teacher for countless reasons, but mainly because I want to positively influence students’ lives, just as Mr. Post influenced mine. He pushed me out of my comfort zone, made me think for myself, and I want to be my students’ cheerleader, coach, and chaperone; but most importantly, I want to be the person that they look up to. Ag teachers get to mold and maximize the potential of their students. For all of the aforementioned reasons and many more, I want to teach ag.
“So God Made an Ag Teacher”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xn5SNz2FHEg