Friday, May 13, 2016

Day 3: Music City, Ag Programs, and Words of Wisdom #PSUAgEd2TN

Editors Note: The following is a reflective observation from different students participating in #psuaged2TN, our domestic study away program. Kayla Hack (@Hackkayla), a junior and member of #psuaged17, shares below. This incredible opportunity is made possible by the generosity of the CHS Foundation.

Bean seed germination lab. 
Nashville has always been known as Music City but after our time in the city I think we would all agree it is also home to innovative agricultural education programs.  These programs are committed to critical thinking and school wide academic improvement. The Domestic Study Away crew spent Day 3 visiting McGavock and Overton High Schools, both in the Nashville Metropolitan School System. Learning about the academy system and shadowing and teaching alongside talented teachers allowed our group to stretch ourselves both personally and professionally. 
Heather and her class at Overton High School. 

The Academy system around agriculture education in the Nashville Metro school system is unique. From the freshman career fair to choosing a pathway as a sophomore and shadowing professionals on the job, career and college readiness is at the heart of the Academy system at Nashville Metro. McGavock High School made the decision two years ago to replace physical science classes with agriscience classes, which allows every freshman to be in an agriscience class and an FFA member. At McGavock High School we were able to Shadow Ms. Mia Sullivan, Ms. Jennifer Smith and Mr. Westlee Walker  at McGavock and Ms. Rebecca Farrow at Overton. They allowed us to engage in labs, offered advice and helped answer our questions.   The stories about McGavock and Overton could go on, but I will leave you with my top 5 lessons learned at McGavock High School.

Top 5 “Lessons Learned” on Day 3:

Myself (Kayla) and Ms. Smith . 
1. Smile and be flexible. All of the teachers at McGavock shared this, either through their teaching or in conversation. Plans change, and as agriscience teachers we have to take a deep breath, adapt and be willing to change on the spot to get students where they need to be.

2. Be invested in. Ms. Smith invited me to go to her end of the year professional development review. This reiterated the importance of having a mentality of continued growth. I was able to witness what it looks like to be formally evaluated and reflect upon goals in a school setting. Being poured into as a teacher will allow me to pour into students.

3. Partnerships are key. Engaging in a round table discussion with Ms. Pamela Walker, Instructional Coach, Dr. Ricketts, Ms. Jennifer Smith, Ms. Mia Sullivan and Mr. Westlee Walker all teachers at McGavock High School and Mr. Crow a community and business  These stakeholders offered an example of what it looks like when partners come together to benefit a school, community and the future workforce.

Business partner and advisory board
encouraged us to stay connected

4. Ask for Help. Every stakeholder in our round table stressed the importance to us for agriscience teachers to ask for help, reach out, call people and pick their brain.

5. Don’t be’s going to be a wild ride, but it will be worth it.” In her closing remarks during the round table Ms. Smith shared this exact phrase. Dr. Rickets agreed, and told us to jump in even though we still won’t feel ready. 

As we left McGavock High School the ideas and questions continued to percolate. This is a noble profession, but also a difficult one and one that I am still willing and ready to jump into whether it be in a Metropolitan area or a rural farming community. 

Follow along with our experience on Twitter by using #PSUAgEd2TN!  To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog. 

Kayla Hack 
2017 Student Teacher 
Agricultural & Extension Education 

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