Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Trip Out West

This past week, the Janae's (for those of you who don't know, there are actually two of us...) packed up and headed out west!  In the middle of the spring snow storm and 4 hours later, we arrived at Conneaut Area Senior High School to visit a good friend of ours.

Ms. Laura Metrick is currently student teaching with Ms. Ellen Aurand at Conneaut and is rocking it out!  We had the opportunity to see Laura in her element working with her kids and doing great things.

It was evident that Laura is really stretching herself and growing as a teacher throughout her student teaching experience.  We watched Laura go from instructing her students in the wood shop as they completed their wood stool projects, then move seemlessly into classroom mode where her students continued to learn about plant physiology.

Ms. Metrick's students weren't the only ones learning that day though.  Laura is doing an awesome job incorporating technology into her classroom and gave me a few pointers to take back to Greenwood.  Conneaut students each have an iPad that they are given to use in class and Laura has found creative ways of utilizing those resources.  I had the opportunity to watch her use apps, like Nearpod, to take her accelerate her classroom through a digital platform.

Our 4 hours through the snow was well worth it this past week.  It was great to see one of my closest friends transform from student to teacher, from Laura to Ms. Metrick.

Monday, March 16, 2015

When Passions Combine

So probably one of the neatest things that I have done so far during my student teaching experience happened this week.  This week my students had the opportunity to volunteer at the Keystone National Truck and Tractor pulls.

My students spent two days at the PA Farmshow Complex working with the PA FFA association to help with the truck and tractor pulls.  There were students selling 50/50 tickets, collecting admission tickets, and even students down in the pits and on the track, helping to hook the sleds and run the tube (a large plastic tube attached to the exhaust of the pulling tractor to help funnel the emissions out of
the area).

It was very cool to finally see students who don't usually accompany us to FFA events and competition come a long and really enjoy their time.  Those boys who are usually hard to get off the farm even found themselves having a great time!  My personal experience was a little different, however.  I'm not sure how, but I found myself working security on Saturday night during the championship pull.  I have to say, I think I did pretty well; I even broke up a fight... However, I'm still waiting for my vest that says SECURITY and my walkie-talkie...

But aside from the fun I had chaperoning my kids and playing security guard, the  experience meant something else to me as well.  It was a great chance to spend time being surrounded by tractors; something that I love.  It was refreshing and fun after a really stressful week but what was unique about this stress reliever was that this time I didn't need to step away from my adviser duties.

Usually, when the stresses start to pile up and I feel a little overwhelmed, I try to find something I enjoy and take a break from the wearing my teacher hat.  But this time, I got to wear my teacher hat while doing something that I love (not that I don't love teaching, but ya know....).

Even though this was just a small event in the grand scheme of things, it was a refreshing experience to realize that this is where I belong.  Just by doing my job as an Ag teacher, I have the opportunity to experience things that I love in the process; not instead of being with my students, but while being with my students.

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Student Becomes the Teacher

Recently I had the unique experience of doing my first Supervised Agricultural Experience, or SAE, visit with one of my students as their student teacher.  I stopped by Mrs. Pontius' house, my cooperating teacher, one day after school to see one of our students working during his placement SAE working on the dairy farm.

It was such a neat experience to see one of my students, who is usually shy, working hard in his own element.  A student who is usually quiet in my classes was buzzing around the barn just doing his thing.

I stood back, just watching and observing for awhile as he brought in the cows and put the milkers on and fed the cows.  And then he turned to me and said, "Your turn!"

I may be an agriculture student but I'm no dairy farmer.  I had never milked a cow in my life!  His response, "Nows a good a time as any!"  Good point, my friend...

So I grabbed ahold of the milker and gave him a blank stare.  I had know idea what to do.

But my student was great!  He gave an excellent explanation of which button does what, which teat to hook up first, how to clean the cows, everything that I could have wanted to know.  I helped to finish the milking, feed the calves, and put down the hay for the cows and heifers.  I was so proud of this student!

We took a look at his record books, however, and they simply did not reflect all of the hard work he was putting in at the farm.  I hope to help this student continue to improve his financial records and journal entries for his SAE before the time I leave Greenwood.  I know that he is so capable!

It was just a fun experience overall!  The student teacher went to see the student at the cooperating teacher's farm where the student is the employee.  The student then became the teacher to the student teacher while the other teacher supervised the teaching that the student was doing for the student teacher.  Needless to say that by the end of the night, it was hard to say just who was teaching who what, but I know that I learned so much during my first SAE visit!