Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

A Helping Hand to Our Most Valuable Resource

Academic journal article The Agricultural Education Magazine

A Helping Hand to Our Most Valuable Resource

Article excerpt

It's no surprise that more than one half of our national agricultural education teachers don't make it through their fifth year. Moreover, even more overwhelming they are amongst the thousands of general education instructors who leave as well. However, agriscience teachers are different. They have access to community support. Often times, they are so overwhelmed by their day-to-day activities they forget to ask for help. When they finally realize that help is available, many are already "burntout" and are ready to hand the program over to someone else.

One major strategy that the National FFA Organization and National FFA Alumni are supporting is committing resources to mobilize legions of alumni/volunteers to support all levels of Ag Ed/FFA with emphasis at the local program level. Creating effective local partnerships, of which volunteers is one part, one of the seven keys to Local Program Success (LPS). Local practicing agricultural education teachers under a project co-managed by the USDE and The Council created LPS. FFA and Agricultural Education has a history of commitment to creating successful local agriculture education programs and will be increasing staffing dedicated to local program success.

A study "Predictors of FFA Program Quality in North Carolina" conducted by Zane Vaughn, North Carolina State University, indicates that multiple teacher departments/ chapters is a major force in successful local programs. Nationally, nearly 3,500 local agriculture education programs have only one teacher. One strategy to enhance the program in single teacher departments is to mobilize alumni/volunteers to serve as additional "arms and legs" for the local teacher. These volunteers are critical in local program planning, resource development, serving as the "institutional memory" when teachers leave, mentoring members, creating SAE development opportunities, building community support and the list goes on. …

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