Saturday, February 9, 2013

2013 Ag Ed Summit: Let's get out there and make some teachers!

On January 30th and 31st, Agricultural teachers from across the United States gathered together in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2013 Agricultural Education Summit.  This year teachers were focused on the theme of “Recruitment and Retention of Teachers for School-Based Agricultural Education".  How do we get more people to pursue a career in agricultural education?  How do we keep them there?   

Matt Reutlinger represents 
Penn State on panel discussion
The Pennsylvania State University was represented by both Matt Reutlinger (Penn State Teach Ag! Avenger, 2015 Student Teacher) and Dr. Daniel Foster (Assistant Professor of AEE).  They had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the issues.  Matt started off by stating, “We all understand that recruitment is important because it ensures the future generation of teachers and also the future generation of stakeholders in agricultural education.”  In his comments he shared to the importance of encouraging young people inside and outside of the classroom.  

“We need those people to go out into the classrooms and clubs and say, ‘You are going to be an agricultural educator!  You may not know it yet but I will teach you how.” - Matt R. 

Dr. Foster spoke on Thursday and shared how Penn State is preparing our future teachers for a career in agricultural education.  He emphasized the importance of having a supportive family atmosphere with student teachers, current teachers, and organizations (PAAE, FFA, FFA Alumni).  An important point of his presentation was that our students can be the best advocates we need for agricultural education.  The students are the ones with incredible stories and experiences to share with those potential agricultural education majors.  Our students put in a lot of work and energy into becoming the best they can be so it is important that we prepare, support, and assist them in the field they are going into.  It takes a dedicated and motivated individual to do what agricultural educators do everyday.  "If it was easy anyone would do it!"  Towards the end of his comments he challenged the summit to always be asking the question "What if...".  What if we could ensure every graduating student has a job lined up?  What if we could double our AEE enrollment?  
Dr. Foster shares innovative ideas
and thoughts with Summit.

"Our best recruiters are, and always will be, our students!" - Dr. Foster

There was plenty of discussion during the Summit.  From better recruitment to mentorship, and media involvement to universal teaching standards; there certainly is much to look forward to in the world of Ag Ed.  Be sure to check out the links below for more on the Summit and how you can be a better educator!  From all of the videos that I watched and great ideas I heard I am excited to be preparing to dive into this career!  If there was one tidbit I could say stuck with me the most, it would be this quote: "Take one idea and plus it!"  We have plenty of information and resources available to us.  It is time for us to take our ideas and make those dreams become a reality.  The reality  question is, how will you will you make your big idea happen?  Now go and do it!


To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.eduFollow us on Twitter @TeachAgPSUor on Facebook at

By: Matthew Dodson, 
Student Blogger
2013 Teach Ag Avenger
2016 Student Teacher Candidate

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