Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm On The Road Not Taken... (#TeachAg, #Global, #AGEDU)

Hello!  My name is Nicole Weaver and I appreciate you stopping in to read my first blog post! I am a new mom (my 3 1/2 month old son is sleeping in my arms as I write this!), a wife, a teacher, an advocate of global school-based agriculture education, and an aspiring amateur chef!  If you will be patient, I'd like to tell you a little about myself and why I'm here!

I was not a typical kid.  I watched Grease every day after school and knew the lyrics to every Queen and Pink Floyd song when I was 8.  Other kids wanted to be doctors and lawyers and I wanted to be the next Jaques Cousteau - at least until a touched a dolphin for the first time. I was not a typical kid.

I wasn't a typical College of Ag. Sciences student either. I took random classes like Linguistics (which I highly recommend!) and French Cinema (which I also highly recommend) because they "sounded fun."  I was an Animal Biosciences major my freshman year and sort of "fell" into the Agricultural & Extension Education major - I'm honestly not sure how it happened, but I'm glad I did!  The other AEE majors all came from farms or some agriculture background - I grew up down the road from a farm and helped my grandparents make jars of our ancient family tomato sauce recipe. I worked with PGSAS (Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Agricultural Sciences) and traveled to Ukraine and Poland to do farm tours. I also acted in and stage managed several theatrical productions during my 5 years. I graduated from PSU in 2004 with a degree in AEE and two minors - International Agriculture & Theatre.  I was not a typical college kid.

And now?  Well for the past 10 years, I've been an atypical Ag. Teacher.  I luckily found Twin Valley High School in Berks County, PA. They "get" my atypical-ness and encourage it!  When CASE (Curriculum for Agriculture Science Education) was brand new, they paid for me to attend one of the first training sessions.  I became the first teacher in PA to be certified in CASE. I teach about soil science and floriculture by day, and advise Theatre Arts Club and produce the school's spring musical by night - and this past school year I choreographed the show (while pregnant!) as well. I'm not a typical Ag. Science Teacher.

See a trend? Well now, I get to add a new role to my professional quirkiness: PSU Global TeachAg! Fellow. I'm the first of my kind! My school (Twin Valley) was kind enough to grant me a semester of educational leave to complete my M.Ed, and PSU Center for Professional Personnel Development in the Agricultural and Extension Education Program in the College of Ag. Sciences was gracious enough to offer me a full-time graduate student experience and internship. Now, I get to take my passion for International Agriculture and utilize it to further global school-based agricultural education in secondary schools in PA.

This semester I hope to create new links between teachers and students from all over the world and create a system where our students are learning about agriculture on a broad scope. I want to create an open dialogue with professionals from diverse backgrounds and our students to get them asking important questions about global agriculture and how we are going to use our knowledge to solve the dilemmas that face our planet.  I hope to offer you, my reader, some new ideas; if you are a teacher, I'd like to give you resources to implement global agriculture education in your classroom; if you are a high school student, I'd like to open your mind and challenge you to think outside your realm of comfort; if you are a professional, I'd like to inspire you to think globally, and encourage you to develop global competency; and in general, I hope to entertain and educate you.

I like that I'm not your typical Agriculture Science Teacher or PSU graduate student. I like that my passion in Global Agriculture could create great change and growth in our state. Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken" has always been an inspiration to me and I think it's perfectly fitting now - to create global competency and the ability for agriculture globally to serve our population, we need to take the road less traveled. We need to be brave. We need to be quirky. I'm on the road less traveled and I hope you'll join me on this journey. 

Wanna chat global school-based agricultural education?  Follow me on Twitter (@TeamWeaverFever), e-mail me (TeamWeaverFever@gmail.com) or comment on this blog!  I hope to hear from you!

Agriculturally yours,

Nicole

2 comments:

  1. Nichole- Love your blog, and I am so excited for you in this new adventure! I was surprised when you didn’t mention drama director/queen when you were describing yourself in the first paragraph. I am so glad that you are doing this because we often say that people are so far removed from agriculture that they don’t know where their food comes from…..and then we talk about what people in American agriculture do to produce and process the food we eat. What we often fail to mention is if it were not for agriculture in other countries, we often would not enjoy some of the foods we love, especially in the “off=season”. Best of luck as you continue on this journey. If you need a “road trip” partner or a sitter when you are in State College, give me a call. You little guy is toooooooooo cute!!

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  2. Kerry - Thanks for the kind words and for the insight! You are too right! We cannot just be citizens of our own nation anymore and think that we are singular. We must be GLOBAL citizens and realize that no matter what - differences in race, religion, politics, etc. - we are ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!! We survive and thrive - or fail - as a species by working together and learning from each other. My hope in this fellowship and through my blogs and my master's work is to encourage teachers to set our youth up to be global citizens, ready to tackle the issues of food security and safety for all people on earth. I like the idea of learning about foods that we ONLY get from international markets...I see a lesson plan teachers can use in there. Hmmm...you got my brain working! And I would love to get together, David loves meeting new people! Take care!

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