It's easy to sit up on my horse with all the pomposity I can muster and exclaim, "There are 3 circles in Ag education and they are all equal in size." The most troublesome aspect is, that you'll never know which circle impacts the hardest to reach students. I've discussed this with veteran Ag teachers on many occasions and they tend to agree with that premise. Some Ag teachers avoid digging deep into Ag Mechanics, but often your poorest performing students will often excel in the shop/lab because learning new skills is very engaging to them. From there you've opened up an avenue for a job that will be their SAE and possibly their future career. Only then will they start to ask why and not until that point will lecture ever have any meaning for them.
You have the good kids. The ones that you can throw anything at and they'll knock it out of the park. On top of those kids are the up and comers who will take the place of the good kids once they graduate. The next group are those who have tried a few things and you can tell they get it, but it's just never clicked over to them being one of the good kids. It could be that some are like me and just don't like groups. It took me until I was a senior in high school to even join FFA. It all can seem very out of reach to students that appear very promising members to you. Then there are those who show up to class but never, ever show up on your radar. You may have even tried a few times to get them involved but it just doesn't happen. And we all know there's no way you can reach every student, but you know there's plenty that need FFA in their life far more than you need them on your roster just for an extra body. But how? How do you get these students above idle? Good luck and please let us know your thoughts. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Send us your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest handles and we'll be glad to follow you as well. You can also contact me at email@example.com. Feel free to jump over to the store side of our website at www.OneLessThing.net
There's 1,000 ways to say it. It's like putting miles on a horse or time in the seat. If you are a TOP GUN aficionado like me the movie line goes, "Get him back in the saddle. And keep sending him up." These idling students must be challenged and continue to be challenged, but not in the same way every time. Instead it must be in every way until somehow, some way it clicks. Both you and them won't know what tool fits their hand the best until you put it in there for them. And then challenge them to grow outside of their comfort zone of idle. That is why the 3 Circles are so important. Not to make each student simply, well rounded. Instead, each new experience gets them one step closer to finding their path. With each miss, you have one more skill or job that you can cross off as a potential pass.
If you want some summer reading homework, then I will encourage you to read "Mindset" by Carol Dweck. Once you do, then you'll start to hear words and phrases that will explain why some students just never get over the hump or ever get beyond idle in your class. An example would be the remedial science class Alicia was forced, yes forced, to teach one year as an Ag teacher. There were 18 girls and 1 boy who were seniors and would not graduate because they could not pass the state science graduation test on 3 separate occasions. Alicia didn't want to teach it and they didn't want to be there and she told them so. Then she explained that it's a test that will make no dent in their life, but regardless they had to pass it and with work it will happen. Soon, Alicia discovered most of these students were told that they simply weren't smart or couldn't learn. She also discovered many of them had developed their own strategies to try and learn the material, but lacked the confidence to make progress. They had the will to pass, but zero support. All they needed was a teacher who said, "Yes, you can do this. If you work and put the time in, then you will succeed." As a result 17 of 18 passed on their 4th try and #18 passed on the 5th and final try.
You have to be the one who breaks through to these students on idle. You have to continually engage these students and find out why they continually underachieve. Unfortunately, this means taking on a role that other teachers, and even the parents of these students, will not assume. You have 3 circles and if you use each of them correctly the results will be remarkable. Good luck and please let us know your thoughts. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Send us your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest handles and we'll be glad to follow you as well. You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to jump over to the store side of our website at www.OneLessThing.net