July 23, 2013

that time I was an agriculture teacher.

There was a point in my life, actually, exactly 1 year ago that I started my first job as an agriculture teacher at St. Pauls High School.  I remember all the emotions that I felt...I had a wonderful teaching partner, the school had a lot of potential, and there were so many great students that were willing to the support the program that I had just accepted.  I was nervous, but I was also excited. I got the keys and began working hard in the North Carolina hot summer.  I learned to run an aquaculture system, pulled SO many weeds from the greenhouse, worked on labs for students, and even gotten eaten up by a couple piles of fire ants while at it.

I loved every part of an agriculture teacher's summer. I worked hard, came home with a sweaty brow, and enjoyed learning and teaching with some students that visited that summer. I got my classroom decorated and ready for orientation and met a few of my future students. I was excited...I knew it was going to be a tough school year, but I knew that I could do it.

For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you learned back in December that I accepted a new job mid-year at Cheminova (an agriculture chemical company).When offered this position, I knew I had to take it.  I had prayed to God to provide me some relief in the classroom.  I had some AMAZING students, but I also had some that treated me poorly as a teacher.  Teaching in a poor area is extremely rewarding but is also equally as difficult.  I had prayed for God to show me a sign and He did.

Still to this day, I question myself as to if I made the right decision. More days than not I feel like a failure. I know God guided me every single step of the way to where I am now, but it doesn't make the hurt easier. I have watched my friends celebrate completing their first year of teaching. I didn't complete mine...and I know I let some of my students down. 

There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss it. I think about all the talented students I had in the classroom and in FFA.  I think about the students that were troublesome but turned around with goodness in their heart.  I think about all the fun times we had and wish I had just taken more pictures.  Those students were special to me...and I knew I was just as special to some of them. 

So, to my fellow North Carolina agriculture teachers at the Agriculture Teachers Conference this week...enjoy it.  I know you aren't paid much, life is harder most days than it is easy, and your time spent at school is greater than it is spent at home.  But, the minute you leave, you will miss it.  I can guarantee you.

Take pictures with your students, challenge them to new heights, soak up all the material you can at conference. Those teachers around you can serve as a resource for years to come. 

Who knows...one day I may be joining the ranks of agriculture teachers again, but for right now, God has me right where He wants me to be. I am learning about the industry, seeing agriculture all across the nation, and am working to develop those skills that I need to make myself a better agriculturalist. Not being at agriculture teachers conference this week with y'all has been difficult, but know that every day I still think about lesson plans and what needed to be done in the greenhouse. I still care about education and hope that one day that North Carolina can be in a much better place. So, until that day, thanks for all your dedication and hard work in developing young premier leaders for a company like Cheminova.  I know all that you do and not a day goes by that I don't miss it!  

Even though I am not an agriculture teacher anymore, I am an agriculturalist and still live by this part of the agriculture teacher's creed.

"I believe in American agriculture; I dedicate my life to its development and the advancement of its people."

Thanks for all you do!