Today families across the country from Hawaii to Virginia will gather around the kitchen table for a huge meal. Many people will labor for hours over the perfectly cooked turkey and family dishes you wait all year to eat will finally make their debut. Football will be watched, naps will be taken and too much will be eaten. As exciting as the festivities are, from Friendsgivings to family feuds, it’s easy to forget that the real reason for this holiday is gratitude.
So today’s blog is a public thank you note. Written to some people who have had a very profound impact on my life, on the lives of so many others and who constantly are shaping the future of the industry I’m so proud to work in. We wouldn’t be feeding as many people, creating better technologies, curing animal diseases, shaping policy or even marketing livestock without the influence of these humble workers. Today, we want to say thank you to Ag Teachers.
Thank you for Your Time
Time is precious. Thank you for the days, hours, late nights and long drives. Whether you have dedicated 20 years to teaching students or just a few, your time invested was not wasted. Each student who entered your classroom whether they were a shop kid, a farmer’s kid or a city kid, their eyes were opened to something new.
Thank you for your family
If you are the spouse, parents, sibling, son or daughter or even in-laws of an ag teacher, you deserve a pat on the back. Lord knows you’ve played host to FFA members staying over on your couches or in your guestrooms. You’ve given up time with your loved one so they can take the livestock judging team to another contest. You have sacrificed weekends to fundraise for the local chapter, traveled to judge contests and dressed up for state conventions. You have opened your home to students and listened to countless frustrations caused by both students and administration. You have befriended crazy high-school students and listened to countless speeches and you too can recite the creed by heart. You have carried hay bales, sat on the hard bleachers at the county fair, patiently waited after a meeting or contest or show ran past schedule. You have delivered donuts and folded napkins and taken pictures and dealt with crabbiness not caused by you. The words thank you will never be enough.
And ag teachers, thanks for sharing your wonderful family with us and dealing with the flack you get from them for all the favors. You owe them for it, and we owe you.
Thank you for the Criticism
Thank you for constructive criticism, the advice on how to do and be better and yes, even sometimes pointing out some solid character flaws that need to be addressed. It may be met with an eye roll but I promise some of it is really listened to.
Thanks for Bravely Traveling
A lot of teachers won’t deal with an afternoon trip to a museum in town but you’ll travel the entire country in a van filled with FFA jackets. Without you, a lot of kids wouldn’t see the outside of their county or state. Your ability to turn a minibus, airplane or Outback Steakhouse booth into a classroom is truly a talent all it’s own.
Thank you for the Push
I’d bet money that a lot of careers, passions and even relationships happened because “my ag teacher made me _________” fill in the blank. Nudging us outside of our comfort zones (or even dragging us kicking and screaming) makes your students better people.
Thank you for the laughs
Whether you were an ag teacher for one year, you’re currently student teaching or you’ve been beating this drum for decades, you deserve a HUGE thank you for all the people you’ve made smile. You can’t always know what battles your students are facing outside your classroom and the impact of your ability to lift spirits with your jokes, silly blunders and sarcasm can never be measured. Plus your comedy has provided excellent stories your students will be telling for the rest of their lives.
Thanks for the wisdom
That whole stationed by the owl thing is pretty legit. Thanks for sharing knowledge of agriculture but most of all thanks for your ability to share just the right words at the right time. And thanks for being able to share wisdom without using words at all.
Thanks for always giving
Thank you for spotting the kid who forgot to bring money for dinner, for pulling out of your own pocket for a chapter or classroom need and anonymously putting funds on a student’s account at the feed store when you know times are tough and the fair projects still need to be fed.
Thank you for writing grants
I know this is a terrible chore so thank you for caring enough to find funding to purchase a new welder or make another trip. Though tedious, time-consuming and downright boring, your time spent finding extra funds is the difference for lots of students.
Thank you for yelling at me
Although you’ll probably regret losing your temper after you’ve yelled, every time I’ve ever seen an ag teacher fuming mad at a student, it’s because they care about the kid so dang much (or some kid has pulled off a really great prank). Thanks for caring enough to be angry when kids make bad choices and helping us to correct them and thanks for having a sense of humor that allows for students to plot which way they can “get you” next.
Thank you for the Friendships
Thanks for the friendships made in your classroom, through the blue jacket and your friendship after I’ve left your classroom.
Thank you for teaching how to write thank you notes
Gratitude isn’t something that comes naturally for all of us. Thanks for teaching us to take time to learn the craft of a handwritten note and the power of a thank you.
Thank you will never be enough, but we say thank you for all you do.
Dedicated to all my friends who are (for some crazy reason) now ag teachers and all the ag teachers who have mentored and hosted me over the years, but first and foremost to my ag teacher, Kizer.
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