The feedyard is in full swing, and our new record system is becoming my friend. Well kind of. The major portion of the DEQ project is complete. I was thinking life is about to get a little easier. Every time I think that, I believe God grins. My phone started ringing from our community members, people just letting me know the Ag. Teacher at SEM where the girls go to school was taking another job. They were the most subtle phone calls I have ever received. I told Jake I am unsure if they want me to take the job or just want me to know.
Jake and I have spoke from time to time about me heading back to the classroom. We decided in less a position opened in the girls' school, with no family here it would be impossible. Jake encourages me to go back to the classroom. I think he thinks this because I relate everything at the feedyard to teaching. I have been out of the classroom for three years and those three years have been eye opening and not in a good way. I spent the first 17 years of my life in the Northern Local School District, among some great students. I then left and spent 4 years at The Ohio State University mostly with other wonderful Agriculture Education students. I then went straight to work as a teacher. It was not until this year as we continue to search for a crew that is capable of helping us take the feedyard to the next level, that I realized our work force is horrific. As a teacher I was completely unaware of the incredible problem we have with skilled labor in this country. Not only do we have a problem with skill, we apparently have problems with sobriety and attendance also. It is an epidemic. We are in big trouble and if something doesn't change soon our children may be in bigger trouble.
It was clear to me that the only way I could influence these problems is to go back to the classroom. I was unsure about taking the position, I knew if I took the job I would be jumping in with both feet to a situation that is way more than full time. I know my philosophies in education have never aligned with the political officials passing our curriculum mandates and many times have not always lined up with my administrators. But then, there I was at a 4-H livestock judging event with Jacie talking with a school board member. We started discussing education and what is important and my thoughts and ideas were spot on with what he was saying. First time ever! I decided to turn in my resume and then I decided to interview. Then a few hours after my interview I took a new job as the SEM Ag. Teacher and FFA Advisor.
I am going back to the classroom with a new plan. In fact I am wondering while in my education career why they don't just have teachers manage a fast food restaurant (not in a college town). I believe a town's fast food restaurant tells a lot about a towns education. I believe we would really better understand society and what is the least we would allow students to leave our classrooms knowing.
We have really just over complicated education. I have decided that really I would like to be measured not by how many students pass a certain test, but how many are tax paying citizens 5 years out of high school. I believe students really only need to leave high school with a healthy self esteem and a work ethic. However I plan on adding a lot of life skills. By life skills, I mean skills that students can go to someone and say I can do this and a person can afford and will want to pay them to do it. These life skills also include a financial lesson in savings, spending and planning. Specifically they include, payroll and the worth of an employee, coming to work on time and ready to work, animal movement, care, multiplication, dosages, BQA certification, animal behavior, quality assurance, how electric fence works, the flow of electrons, affordable health care, welding, following directions, being respectful, working independently, recognizing when to remain silent, understanding your paycheck, cash flow, net worth . . .etc.
Please send your ideas - I am overhauling my lesson plans starting now. Please send in all the things you were glad someone taught you in high school and the things that you wish someone would have. I am meeting with the community soon to get their ideas.
I am excited to get back to the classroom with a new philosophy and the same intensity. It's sure to be a wild ride.
To all my former students, please feel free to leave advice for my new students.
A look at my past career:
Reaping One Last Seed
My Move to the Real World - Where Attendance is Still a Problem
Career Development Events