From time to time we have opportunity to learn from the "Masters." I'm speaking of those individuals who compiled their wisdom over the course of years of successful educational experience. T. D. Fanning is one of those individuals and has agreed to share some of his wisdom in this issue. see if you can find any item you have never heard before. I think you will agree that sound advice is often timeless.
Congratulations, you are about to graduate from a prestigious institution of higher learning with a degree in secondary education. And, you have been hired for your first position of teaching agricultural education, vocational agriculture, agricultural science and industry, etc. Now what?
One of your first steps is to schedule a meeting with the building principal. Start off by asking him/ her what he/she and the community expects from the agricultural education program. She/He may or may not have a valid answer for you depending on how much experience she/he has had with the previous program and how successful it had been. The principal may furnish you with good information or he/she may wax on with esoterical wanderings from which you will need to winnow out any bits of advice. At least you made a good first step by including the administration in your plans.
While you have the audience with the principal ask him/her to furnish you with copies of the...
* school calendar for the next school year.
* ag/FFA planned activities.
* inventory of classroom supplies, resources, etc.
* inventory of mechanics laboratory equipment.
* schedule of classes.
* names of FFA officers, their postal addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
* last year's curriculum for each ag class. (You will need to talk with students who were in those classes to check the validity as to content. Sometimes what was on paper in the principal's office is not what actually occurred.)
* pre-enrollment information for each class.
* amount of financial support available in normal budget and weighted monies,
* dates and deadlines for requisitions of new materials you might need to order.
* names and contact information of the agricultural advisory council.
* names and positions of certified and non-certified staff associated with the school.
* last year's FFA program of activities.
* forms and procedural information associated with the school. (You will probably receive these during a teacher in-service meeting before the start of school, but ask anyway.)
* procedures to be followed and administration support with discipline.
* transportation supplied by the school district for program supervision.
* keys to your new kingdom.
It would be prudent of you to have the information you need written in hardcopy form to present to the principal. This could prevent misunderstandings at a later date as to exactly what you had requested. The principal could/will be overwhelmed by your request and may not be able to furnish you with all of the information you need, but they may direct you to reliable sources.
If the teacher you are replacing is retiring or moving on to a different opportunity, you will want to meet with him/her and review the information you received from the principal. In fact, this person may take you around and introduce you to those people you were asking about and other key resource people in the community, thereby saving you considerable time and giving you an accelerated start.
Now that you have your basic information, get your master calendar out and mark the dates you must make commitments to, such as state ag teachers meetings, FFA officers training sessions, state FFA Convention, county fair, etc. This list will vary with the situation in which you find yourself.
Take the balance of the information you have and analyze it against the conditions that actually exist. …