Texas FFA News  
Why I Teach Ag: Amanda Twedt    
Monday, June 15, 2020 | Author: Texas FFA News

What ag education classes do you teach?

Small Animal Management, Livestock Production, Veterinary Medical Application, and Practicum in Veterinary Medical Application

Why do you teach ag?
I teach agriculture for the students who have no idea what agriculture is. It is a great joy to see students' faces light up or shocked by the realization agriculture is a part of everything. It is so fun to let them build their public speaking skills, teamwork, and self-confidence while learning where their food, clothing, and favorite products come from.

Teaching agriculture also means working with students outside of class who are on teams and hold offices. Working with these students is inspiring. They challenge me to work harder while I challenge them to get out of their comfort zone. It is pure joy to see students succeed, especially when they have never been successful in anything else in their lives.

What is your favorite classroom memory?

My favorite classroom memory was when I brought live animal organs into the class for the first time. The students were so excited and grossed out all at the same time. During the lab they were so engaged and asked incredible questions about the organs’ functions, development, and how they were placed in the body. Through this lab, I saw the kids who did not want to be in my class become inspired to learn more about animal systems.

What is your favorite FFA memory?
My absolute favorite FFA memory is when a student came up to me and said "Three years ago, I told you we are just Whitehouse; I don’t know why we try. Now, we ARE Whitehouse, and that makes me proud to be here." Knowing the kids are excited to be a part of our program and compete makes all the world. When they are proud to be here, it makes me even more excited to keep working for them.

What advice would you give yourself as a first-year teacher?
Breathe! I would remind myself to breathe, find time to decompress, and to balance my work schedule. The first year is challenging, and when you feel the pressure to be perfect, do not let it control your life. Find time for you.

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
Every day students remind me they have no idea what agriculture truly is. They have no idea what it takes to get food from the field to their plates. I believe agricultural education is so important. Every single person should know without agriculture, they would not be able to survive.

Do you have advice on balancing work/home life?
Develop a schedule that fits you, your students, and your family. I create a schedule for training based on my student’s extracurricular activities. Once that is established, I set a schedule to help train showmanship in the barn, then guarantee at least one weeknight I am home by 6 p.m. to my family. Balance is hard, but once you have a routine, your students will honor it. I tell my students and their parents not to call or text me after 8 p.m. unless it's an emergency. They have learned to honor that request and I return that respect by not sending out reminders past 8 p.m.

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