FFA members are the future of agriculture, but how bright would the future be without agriculture teachers?
The importance of agriculture teachers and how to become one was the topic of this morning’s workshop, “Get Tagged to Teach Ag.”
It’s important for more students to pursue agricultural education, Ellen Thompson said. Thompson is the National Teach Ag Ambassador for the National Association for Agricultural Educators.
Agricultural education is valuable because it teaches students skills including leadership through FFA, entrepreneurship through supervised agricultural experiences and record keeping through record book, Thompson said.
Every student should have the opportunity to take an agriculture class and have these learning experiences, Thompson said. To provide more agricultural education opportunities, there must be more agriculture teachers.
Being an agriculture teacher is a rewarding job, Thompson said.
Thompson was an agriculture teacher in Minnesota for eight years before her husband’s job promotion moved them to South Dakota.
Thompson said every morning she was an agriculture teacher, she woke up before her alarm went off because she was so excited for each day’s events.
Agricultural education allows you to do something different every day, she said. It’s also a great way to be a positive influence on the next generation of agricultural leaders.
“I haven’t been teaching for three years and I still miss it because of you all,” Thompson told the FFA members.
It’s not just teachers who make an impact on students, she said. Students impact teachers, too.
At the Fifth General Session, two agriculture teachers and one college agricultural education major told FFA members why they are passionate about agricultural education.
Mike Miron, Forest Lake Area FFA advisor from Minnesota, said he decided to become an agriculture teacher after talking to his FFA advisor in high school.
Miron asked his advisor about several different career possibilities, but his advisor pointed him in a different direction.
“He said I was an ag teacher,” Miron said. “I just didn’t know it.”
Miron took his advisor’s advice and found his passion. He encouraged advisors to talk to their students about becoming agriculture teachers and for interested students to ask questions of their advisors.
“If you have a love for FFA, a passion for agriculture and a desire to help your community, you’re an ag teacher,” Miron said. “You just don’t know it yet.”
Courtney Leeper is a sophomore science and agricultural journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Originally from Trenton, Mo., Courtney was a member of the Trenton FFA Chapter.