Today is National Teach Ag Day! Have you given thanks for an Agriculture Educator near you? Robin McLean shares her thoughts with us in the first of my two posts today, continuing the showcase of Agriculture diversity, and how it is more than just cows, sows, and plow. It’s part of my month-long series. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?

The National Association of Agricultural Educator’s Creed opens with the statement “I am an agricultural educator by choice and not by chance.”  I am proud of the choice I made to become an agricultural educator. I guess one could say it was in my blood as my grandfather began an agricultural education program in Pine Grove, PA and instructed there until he retired.  My Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor, guided me from being a quiet middle school student to being a finalist in the National FFA Extemporaneous Speaking contest and New York State FFA Officer. With role models like that, my passion to serve America’s youth and help promote agricultural literacy was stirred and fueled.  My journey as an agricultural educator began in a high school classroom in southern New Jersey then took me to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture where I worked in the Office of Agricultural Education as State FFA Specialist. Realizing I missed teaching and the way a student’s eyes open up when they learn about how agriculture impacts them, I returned to the classroom five years ago.

As a middle school agricultural science educator in “The Garden State,” I feel fortunate to share with students where their food and fiber come from.  By the end of the school year, over 300 students (roughly half of the school population) will have taken an agricultural science course.  I promote the idea that agriculture is more than production but also encompasses science, business and technology. My ultimate goal is to help students understand and appreciate that agriculture is all around them.  My role as an agricultural educator includes being an FFA advisor. I delight in being able to help students set goals, explore career opportunities, develop leadership skills and engage in community service.

I am blessed to be in a profession that has great support and resources available at the national level, including the National FFA Organization and the National Association of Agricultural Educators, as well as strong state support.  More importantly, I am proud to be part of a network of agricultural educators across the nation who encourage and inspire each other whether meeting face-to-face or virtually.  I am indeed Proud to Teach Ag!

Robin McLean can be found in New Jersey and online at Robin’s Joy of Living Blog and Twitter.