Texas FFA News  
Why I Teach Ag: Bonnie Beard    
Friday, February 15, 2019 | Author: Texas FFA News

What ag education classes do you teach?

Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
Floral Design
Veterinary Medical Applications
Agricultural Mechanics and Metal Technologies
Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecology Management
Livestock Production
Why do you teach ag?
I teach agriculture because agriculture is my life. I was raised on a farm and agriculture has always been a part of my life.  My parents Sidney Beard and Esther Beard, who is now 91-years-old, instilled good work habits in all their five children.  I have chopped and picked cotton, worked at a cotton gin, hauled rice, worked cattle and fixed fence. 

Even though, when I was in high school girls were not allowed to be in FFA, I was active in 4-H. I found that agriculture education was where I wanted to focus my career. 

I believe that there is no other job that could be as rewarding as being an agriculture science teacher.   The friends that I've met and the students that I've taught are priceless. Many of my students tell me that I know everyone, well not everyone, but over the past 40ish years I've met a few.  

What is your favorite classroom memory?
Being named our school’s Teacher of the Year in 2002, being a finalist for the entire district’s Teacher of the Year and having the new agriculture facility named in my honor.  

What is your favorite FFA memory?
My students winning the state floriculture contest the year that I was battling cancer.

What advice would you give yourself as a first-year teacher?
Don't try to do everything, get the students involved and be good at a few things in the beginning and broaden your horizons later. People will remember you for what you did well, just as they will remember you as the one that bit off more that they could handle.

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
One year, during freshmen orientation students were stopping by my room. The leader told them that this was the FFA part of the building. One student said, "What is FFA?"  Another answered him. Then he responded, "I don't want to be a farmer.” 

I had to comment on his remark. I ask him “son, where did that cotton shirt that you have on come from, or where do the chicken nuggets that you like come from?”  Yes, I told him they come from the farmer.  

I believe all students, especially suburban students, need to take Principles of Agriculture. Too many of them take agriculture for granted.
Do you have advice on balancing work/home life?
Family comes first. Many ag teachers are with their students more that with their own children. There must be a balance, or both suffer.

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