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Why I Teach Ag: Jennifer Jackson    
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 | Author: Texas FFA News
 



What ag education classes do you teach?

I've taught just about every course offered but I am currently teaching Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Veterinary Medical Applications, Livestock Production and Floral Design.

Why do you teach ag?
I teach ag for a lot of reasons! I had a really great experience with FFA and ag in high school and loved showing livestock, which is what made me want to teach ag.  I enjoy working with my students every day; they are by far the best part of my job.  I love the content of the courses I teach, and I love that I've learned so much during my time in the classroom. Even though it's a lot of work, I enjoy planning my courses and trying to find great new projects and activities.    



What is your favorite classroom memory?
There's way too many to just choose one.  Some of the things that make this job so rewarding are those "a-ha" moments when students "get it," or reaching a student who is a little more difficult. Also, having a lesson go so well and all the students are engaged and having fun. I really love the little quirks that students have or the funny things they say and do. It would be hard to do this job without a sense of humor.

What is your favorite FFA memory?
My favorite FFA memory is being on a bus headed home from an area contest and turning around to see three of my students with tears in their eyes because they had finally qualified for state in poultry judging. I'm not sure why this is the memory that sticks out. Those students were some of the best and they had been working so hard. The amount of pride I felt when I saw how excited they were still causes me to be a little emotional when I think about it. 



What advice would you give yourself as a first-year teacher?
If I could go back, I would tell myself not to try to do everything. Instead, I would tell myself pick one or two things to focus on.  I think as ag teachers we tend to have this "do it all" mentality and it's difficult to maintain. It's so hard to be as successful as you would like to be when you spread yourself too thin.

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
Agriculture is the foundation of everything we do; it literally feeds the world.  With so many technological advancements and with so many misconceptions out there I think a lot of people take the impact of agriculture for granted - like it's going away or somehow less important.  We have the distinct honor of advocating for its importance, clearing up some of the misconceptions, and finding the future stakeholders in the industry.  I have former students in vet school, traveling the world, teaching ag, and several in college earning degrees in agriculture. When you consider our impact from that perspective, it's a really cool thing.



Do you have advice on balancing work/home life?
This is something I still struggle with!  I think it's important to have priorities and stay organized so that you have a plan.  It's important to set boundaries and establish a few days each month that you can commit to working late, but we should all make it a priority to leave work at work and focus on our personal lives each day. You can't pour from an empty cup!

 
   
 
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