Texas FFA News  
Why I Teach Ag: Christy Tobola    
Monday, March 15, 2021 | Author: Texas FFA News

What ag education classes do you teach?

I teach Principles of Floral Design, Advanced Floral Design, Ag Leadership.

Why do you teach ag?
I pursued a degree in agribusiness and poultry science with the initial hopes of getting a business-related job in agriculture. My dad was an ag teacher so I was exposed to and loved agriculture, but I wasn’t interested in teaching. Upon graduating from college, the job market and US economy were not looking good. My dad called one day during the summer to check in on my job hunt. After informing him I didn’t have any prospects, he told me I should contact the agricultural education department at my school about pursuing a master’s degree and obtaining my teaching certificate. My dad would not let me sit back without a job or a plan in place. His encouragement (and gentle prodding) helped to push me toward the path of teaching ag. 

As I finished up my next round of education, I was bound and determined to find a non-teaching job. After hitting several dead ends, I started applying for teaching positions. I was blessed to receive not one, but two offers from amazing schools and agricultural education programs. I remember stopping, looking toward heaven, and saying “Okay God, I get it, I’ll teach.”  I continue to teach, not only to advocate for the industry I am so passionate about but to educate students about the value of agriculture in their everyday lives.

What is your favorite classroom memory?

In my first year, I taught a veterinary technology class with only about 10 students. They were all non-traditional ag students who had been placed in the class to fill their schedules. Since they had so little background in agriculture, they were a fun group to teach. On one occasion, I was given a few turkeys which needed to be processed and thought it would be a good learning experience to give a processing lesson. They were not thrilled with the smells or pulling out viscera, but overall they seemed to have fun and enjoy it. It truly was a memorable experience I will never forget, and one I hope they will never forget either.

What is your favorite FFA memory?
My favorite FFA memory is when my ag sales team won the national competition. I knew it would be a challenge because it was our first year to qualify for nationals. Like most national qualifiers, we spent months studying and preparing. One of our students decided not to return for the competition which tasked us with training a new student and getting them ready. Our expectation was to do our best, learn from the competition, and be happy and excited to be there. Towards the end of the awards banquet, we realized our team had not been recognized yet. We thought they had forgotten to call us for one of the lower ratings. I will never forget them announcing Bellville as the champions. More importantly, I will never forget the reactions of my students. Their joy, excitement, and pride are why we all push our students to be their best. The student we added to our team ended up being the overall high individual of the contest. It was truly the greatest moment of my career thus far and definitely my favorite FFA memory.

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
Now more than ever, there is a need for trade workers who are often tied to agricultural fields. There is a need for knowledge regarding our food supply, manufacturing, and more. Ag education provides this knowledge and is the introduction to so many industries. Agriculture can be tied to almost anything and, to me, it is important for future generations to realize this. Through our classes, students learn the basics of the agricultural industry and begin to develop their own passions for agriculture.  We cannot live without it and the more we share that knowledge with others the better things will be for all of us. 

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