So what does an agriculture education teacher (adviser) do? There are probably WAY more people out there that don’t know than do. Today most schools are not teaching agriculture in the schools. Yet each and every one of us are dependent on agriculture for our food, clothing, drinks….etc. An ag teacher is like a regular teacher with superpowers!
So this is my story. When I entered my freshman year of ag, I was a shy teenager scared to read aloud in class. I knew the mechanical and physical parts required to make a farm function and at that time I thought that was all you needed to know. If you physically work hard and are able to fix what you break you would be successful at farming and life….or so I thought in my omnipotent teenage wisdom.
Since I already knew all I needed to know, I was not interested in the Career & Leadership Development Events (formerly know as contests). My adviser told me one day that he needed someone to enter the JV extemporaneous public speaking contest. I politely told him I would help him look for someone….he informed me that he had someone in mind already. I asked him who…he said me. What? I was afraid to read aloud in class, how was I supposed to choose a topic, write a speech and deliver it all in 45 minutes? He must have had the wrong guy. But he didn’t. He saw something in me that I did not see in myself. There was underlying talent that had not been developed or fostered. And so it all began.
I entered that first contest. The chapter held practices and the group learned, researched and video taped speech after speech. He was an objective judge and helped me correct my mistakes. The contest day arrived…..and it was sweet success! I could not tell you how I placed but it must have been good because Mr. Seidel began discussing next years contest.
Through this experience I was invited and encouraged to participate in more CDE/LDE contests. He was supportive, helpful yet firm in correction. As time progressed, a relationship had developed. A relationship that allowed me to gain the guidance and benefit from the wisdom of someone outside the family and household. Mr. Seidel became a mentor to me as well as a teacher!
As my career in FFA progressed, I spent HOURS in the classroom, shop and in a car with Mr. Seidel. We discussed almost anything related to agriculture, careers, leadership, finances, agronomy, animal sciences…….etc. The most interesting thing is the most valuable things I learned from my adviser, he never had to say. I learned them from his example. Here are a few: selflessness, kindness, humility, dedication, passion….and these are just a few. We rarely ever talked about these things but I saw them in his actions and the way he treated others.
His enthusiasm was contagious. I was the chapter VP, president, section reporter, 2nd State Extemporaneous Public Speaking, 1st State Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Competitor in National Extemporaneous Public Speaking, and competed in several sate completions. I am not saying this to brag on myself, as a matter of fact it is quite amazing. All the above is a result of an adviser that saw something I didn’t….and he found a way to make it grow.
My children are the 3rd generation in my family to wear the blue jacket. They are blessed to have Mrs. VanDyke as an adviser. I see in her ALL the great things I saw in Mr. Seidel. We are SO thankful to have her here teaching my children these lessons. I hope that I can be of service to her and the chapter through the FFA alumni association.
So to all the wise owls out there, happy ag teacher appreciation day!!! You all are the best!