Wednesday, May 15, 2013

"You're an Ag Ed Major? So you want to farm?" Tales from Tressler

Imagine yourself walking into Ferguson at 6:00 am with 16 other people. Breakfast food and drinks line the wall of room 214 waiting to be consumed by the sleepy, yet hungry college students. You pile your plate up with bagels, fruit, and powdered doughnuts and pour yourself a cup of hot coffee. You turn around and notice that at every desk there is a folder. You open it up and bamm…. It’s everything you need to know for your senior year as a student in the Agricultural Education and Extension major, but the one thing you want to look at the most is ‘the list’.

Ms. Tressler with Pequea Valley FFA members
As an Agricultural Education and Extension student, I was way too excited and anxious to take a look at ‘the list’. The list shows all the potential schools in Pennsylvania that would welcome student teachers for the spring of 2013. It’s the school you will be spending about 3 ½ months of your senior year teaching at. It’s a pretty big deal to say the least. Picking the school took careful consideration. It’s not something you can just close your eyes and point to a school on a piece of paper. You have to do your research. What kind of program do they have? How will I benefit in the end? What do their facilities look like? What’s their average class size? Where are they located? These were just a few of the questions that I asked myself. But then there were questions that stuck out more than others…

Should I go to a place where I'm comfortable with the subjects? That was what I originally wanted. I looked at different schools that had animal science and horticulture programs that were going to be taught during the time I would be teaching. All I knew was that I did not want to go to a place that had Ag Mechanics being taught during the time I was there. It wasn't my strong subject, and I was terrified. As much as I was hesitant to have Pequea Valley as my #1 on the top of the list, I knew that I would benefit more from being in a strong Agriculture Mechanics program than I would at a strong Animal Science program. This whole experience at Pequea Valley was me being out of my comfort zone. I looked at being at Pequea as an opportunity; an opportunity for me to be out of my comfort zone and to learn more about Ag Mechanics. Besides, that was my biggest weakness. So, I sat in front of the panel and explained my reasoning as to why Pequea Valley would’ve been the best fit for me. I want to be the best teacher I can possibly be. If my students want to learn about Ag Mechanics, then I need to have knowledge about that specific area. If I didn’t, I would be hindering my students. I wouldn’t be that well-rounded Ag teacher. It’s the end of my student teaching experience, and I still get asked the same question from time to time….

“So what are you majoring in?”

“Agricultural Education and Extension.”

“So you want to farm or something?”

2013 PSU Student Teaching Cohort
It saddens me to know that many people in our society do not know about Agriculture Education and how it molds students to be positive agents of change; how a total Ag Ed program includes Supervised Agricultural Experience, FFA, and Classroom Instruction and what that actually means; how teachers have students walk in as followers and leave as leaders.  We are teaching the future educators, doctors, lawyers, scientists of tomorrow.  While some may say, “they don’t need to learn about agriculture”, they’re wrong because we don’t just teach a subject in a classroom. Agriculture teachers are so much more. We inspire our kids to be something more. We see the potential in every student and try and bring that to the surface so students can see for themselves what they are capable of. We make a difference. These educators can make that small spark that’s deep inside a student turn into a roaring blaze. Agriculture educators aren’t just teachers; we’re advisors, role models, counselors, motivators, engagers, and when needed, a person to just say “Let’s do better next time. I know you can do this.”  

Submitted by:

Ashley Tressler
2013 Student Teacher
Pequea Valley High School

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