1. Ag Teachers Never Have the Same Day Twice.
One day, agriculture teachers might be in a classroom or laboratory, the next visiting students in the field, preparing teams for an FFA Career Development Event, or leading a community service activity with their FFA chapter.
2. There’s a Teacher Shortage.
Nationally, we need more agriculture teachers. That produces a climate ripe for achieving employment immediately after college graduation. It is estimated that there will be hundreds of unfilled positions across the United States this year, simply because not enough students are choosing to be agricultural educators. Agricultural educators are often on extended contracts, which means they get paid during the summer months and have the potential to earn a significantly higher salary than other teachers.
3. Share Your Passion.
For many FFA members, agricultural education has played a huge role in their lives. From classroom instruction to hours spent preparing and competing, it’s a contagious brand of leadership and skills development. What’s better than taking that enthusiasm and using it to teach the next generation of agriculture leaders? As an agricultural educator, you’ll be leading the way by sharing your passion for our future. Because agriculture is such a broad subject, we need people with all experiences and backgrounds. Urban agriculture is gaining in popularity, as is the addition of ag programs in urban settings. Did you know there are agriculture programs in Chicago and New York City? The only things potential ag teachers should have are a strong work ethic, dependability, and a passion for working with young people through agriculture.
4. It’s a Community.
Agricultural education is very much a family group. Ag teachers help each other out. That is one of the things that makes being an ag teacher so rewarding. The relationships you build with other ag teachers by going to workshops, state and national FFA convention, and other professional settings bring satisfaction and provide support when needed. Many states have mentoring programs for new ag teachers. These mentors guide you through your first few years on the job and help you become successful.
5. Make a Difference.
Agricultural education uses a three-circle model of instruction. These are classroom and laboratory instruction, leadership development, and experiential learning. The successful integration of each of these three components results in a strong program that produces well-rounded individuals who are prepared to be leaders in agriculture, business and industry. This allows you to reach students who might not succeed in a traditional classroom. It also allows cutting-edge topics like cloning, satellite mapping, biofuels, alternative energy and more to be introduced to the next generation of agriculture’s leaders.
Get Started in Agricultural Education
Talk to your teacher or school counselor about how to get started on the path to becoming an ag teacher. Here are some tips to help you get going:
> Talk to your ag teacher about what his or her job is like.
> Ask your teacher to schedule a job shadowing or internship experience for you.
> Develop a supervised agricultural experience program (SAE) involving agricultural education.
> Check out colleges and universities that offer a degree in agricultural education.
“Do what you love. Love what you do. Teach AG!” says Buddy Deimler, Agricultural Education specialist at the Utah State Office of Education and Utah FFA advisor.
Thanks to the National Association of Agricultural Educators’ Teach Ag campaign for much of this content. Learn about Teach Ag at www.naae.org/teaching.
The blog was originally posted on FFA New Horizons.