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Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

West High School, vocational hall, second classroom on the left. Mr. Phil Wright is lecturing on Farm Mechanic

Safety. A very young sophomore is sitting in the first seat listening to someone who absolutely fascinates him rather

than jotting down the information presented to him. I certainly didn’t master the art of welding or carpentry by

listening to this man (through no fault of his own), but I was able to come to a very important conclusion. During

this ag. 2nd class, I decided what my future holds and my destiny … a career in teaching agriculture. During my

adventure as an agriculture teacher, I have had many rewarding moments, some disappointments, and more

opportunities for adaptation than I ever imagined.

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture
Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

Current role:

I am one of three teachers in the Department of Agriculture at Cocke County High School in Newport, TN. Each

teacher is unique in that he specializes in a certain area of the field. The senior member of our team is the “guy” from

farm mechanics and wildlife management. We have a horticultural specialist in charge of the greenhouse classes. I

teach small animal care and forestry; two classes with which I am very familiar and comfortable. I am also certified

to teach agricultural science, in which students can earn science credit. Occasionally I also teach the fundamentals of

farming and usually a lawn and garden management class in the spring. My favorite part of my job is the work I do

with the FFA. I was very active in FFA during my high school years and brought my passion for this organization to

Cocke County. I never miss a year at Leadership Training Camp and attend the state FFA convention in Gatlinburg

regularly. I train FFA members for seven to eight professional development events during the school year. I found

out during my first year of teaching that it certainly wasn’t going to be a teacher showing up at 8 a.m. and left at 3:30

p.m. five days a week. Sure, you could do that, but the only major factor that would suffer from the lack of dedication

you would show is the students.

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

Teaching Preferences and Methods:

Being satisfied with the classes taught by an instructor makes a big difference in whether or not they enjoy their job.

I couldn’t say that I enjoyed the classes I taught my first year. I was tasked with teaching an aquaculture class my

first semester. I can sum up that class in one word: terrible. He had never been exposed to any of the material that he

had to pass on to students.  After that semester, thankfully, I never had to teach that again. But, on the bright side,

Cocke Co. High School offered students the opportunity to care for small animals. My family and I have been raising

and showing rabbits for the past 16 years, so I was looking forward to the opportunity to teach some of the concepts

I feel more comfortable teaching in a classroom. I certainly do not belong to the ag. shop and would rather not be

responsible for greenhouse cultivation. However, I do enjoy showing students how to prepare a rabbit for an

upcoming show by clipping their toenails and cleaning their ears properly. I also enjoy the opportunity to educate

students about the types of trees around the school campus and what might be in their front yards.

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture
Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

During my early years of teaching, the main method of instruction I used was lecturing, with textbook assignments

and an occasional video as reinforcements. I imagine any seasoned teacher will tell you that lecturing is not always

the best or most practical method of conveying information. I still provide copies of my notes to each student, but I

use PowerPoint presentations, using a Promethean board, to get more attention these days.

Relationship with students and strengths:

I certainly cannot reach each and every student who enters my classroom. I would love to think that it is possible, but

I concluded from the beginning that it is not. One thing I learned to do is take into account the personal situations of

students before judging them. Usually I never ask a student more than simply “What’s wrong?” if I see that they are

not acting as they usually do. I have found that that one question shows that you are genuinely interested in them

and normally

Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture
Fulfilling a Destiny by Teaching Agriculture

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