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After teaching Agricultural Education for 10 years in Perry and have been out of the teaching profession for the past 5 years, I have come to understand the two most important words in the spoken language - THANK YOU.  When I took the teaching job at Perry, many called it a training center, as I was the 7th Ag Teacher in 17 years.  I trained here longer than anyone except Everett Chaffin, who is still considered a legend in our community by many people.  He enjoyed a 23-year career at Perry High School.  Since I left in 2010, Perry is on their 3rd Ag Teacher.  When I took the job at Perry in 1999, I met with 3 of the former Ag Teachers to draw on their experience and gain insight into why people don’t stay.  They were all very helpful and I never felt threatened by any of them in relation to the job as Ag Teacher.  Today, there are 7 former Ag Teachers living in our community.  All of them left the profession and to my knowledge, none of them are looking to get back into the profession. I am the most recent to leave the profession and still live and work in Perry and I do not know our current Ag Teacher.  I will be the first to admit that I tend to take the road less traveled and it has made all the difference – much like the great Robert Frost once wrote.  The job of an Ag Teacher is very thankless and unappreciated.  A lot of times you feel like most people don’t like you and not much is going right.  Many feel like they are on an island, buildings are often separated and the job has you out of the classroom more than you are in it. The AgEd model has three parts, classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience, and FFA.  Seems simple!  More like a three ring circus – many times you feel like a ringmaster and not a very good one.  Teach class, get kids involved, be a specialist at 100 different elements, keep students engaged, keep parents informed, keep administrators posted, keep state staff briefed, keep the community, booster clubs and civic organizations informed and up-to-date, meet deadlines, attend meetings, make entries, OH and have a life!  Being an Ag Teacher is a roller coaster of emotion and a juggling act of time.  There are highs, lows, valleys, sunny days, rainy days, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, damaging winds and limited number of peaceful retreats with brooks and streams with calm waters.  The roller coaster is a young persons ride, it takes initiative, ambition, enthusiasm, energy, passion, persistence, drive, willingness to learn, ability to adapt, time management and organizational skills, and the patience of Job.  Make sure to say Thank You to your Ag Teacher – A LOT – sometimes it’s all they get.   Today is Wednesday, this would be a peak in the roller coaster week – start the down hill slide into the weekend, throw back on Thursday and freak out on Friday – wishing everyone a thankful day!

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