Texas FFA News  
Why I Teach Ag: Austin Heck    
Sunday, March 15, 2020 | Author: Texas FFA News

What ag education classes do you teach?

I teach Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Livestock Production, Veterinary Medical Applications, Advanced Animal Science, Wood shop and Metal Shop.

Why do you teach ag?
I teach agricultural science to give students new opportunities outside of our small town. Some students don’t have a chance to see what else is out there in the word, or they are not aware of the vast opportunities’ agriculture has to offer outside of traditional farming. Our program provides those eye-opening experiences. 

What is your favorite classroom memory?
I have more than one favorite memory each year, and I’ve taught for thirteen years! From watching freshmen come in and learn the creed by themselves, to witnessing an 18-year-old build a 32 foot dovetail gooseneck by himself, to the students who come back after graduation to thank me for preparing them for college, I would never be able to pick just one. 

What is your favorite FFA memory?
Every day I arrive at work and am reminded of the memories made on countless road trips and competitions. I’ve watched a student who knew nothing about agriculture as a freshman become a part of a two-time national qualifying dairy cattle team, helped a student with Asperger’s receive his Lonestar Degree. I’ve had a talent team competitor qualify for state four times and is now recording his own songs. Out of countless memories, it would be hard to pick a favorite. 

What advice would you give yourself as a first-year teacher?
Instead of teaching students how to always be successful, teach them how to respond when they fail. There will be bad and good days, but as long as you are passionate about teaching agriculture there will be more good days than there are bad. 

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
Ag education is one of the few programs that teaches students more than TEKS. Without ag education, students are limited as to where they can learn speaking skills, confidence, and life lessons. Ag education, most importantly, teaches students their true capabilities and often what they want to do with their life. 

Do you have advice on balancing work/home life?
Ag teaching is more than just eight to five, but you also must take time for yourself. If you are in a supportive school district, they won’t be selfish when you want to take time for your family. When your program is headed in the direction you want, your number one priority should be time with your family, or you will quickly burn out. If you lose focus on your own kids, they will lose focus on you. 

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