By: Taylor Kruse
Classes were winding down, finals were starting up, and I was on my way to Bloom-Carroll High School to start my early field experience.
My first day started out a little nervously. I kept thinking on the drive to the school, “What if the students don’t like me? What if I’m absolutely terrible at this? And the “What if’s” just continued on in my head. But, when I walked into that classroom and met Christi Bachman I was instantly put at ease. She was so excited to have me in the classroom and made me feel welcome immediately so I knew this was going to be a good experience. However, never did I imagine it would be one of the best experiences of my life.
After about a week of observing, helping, and attending the state convention with members from the FFA chapter, Mrs. Bachman and I decided I was ready to teach a couple mini-lessons in the livestock and animal science classes. I started out with newborn dairy calf feeding, “aka” colostrum. It was fun to teach about something I was so familiar with and the students enjoyed learning about a topic that may not necessarily be taught in the typical Ag classroom. My second day of teaching I moved on to the four digestive systems of animals, explaining their functions, similarities, and differences. I was able to use pictures from a lab class I had just completed back at OSU to show the students what I was explaining. It felt great to apply what I had learned in my classes to the teachings I was doing in another. Two days later I did a review game with the two classes over what I had taught, with a treat to whoever answered the question correctly. I was amazed at how much the students remembered and it was a fun way for them to interact and show what they had learned from my teachings.
One of the most challenging positions I was put into during my early field experience was being one of the three interviewers for the new chapter officer team. I was honored that Mrs. Bachman asked me to do it and believed that I could help select a qualified officer slate, but it was still a tough process to only select 10 out of 17 applicants.
After all of the interviews were finally completed and the three of us judges had selected a slate, I was drained. I had just witnessed 17 of the students that I had come to know and care about over the last ten days show their passion for agriculture and the FFA and why they should be selected for an officer position. There were both smiles and tears throughout the room when the slate was announced, but every single one of those students congratulated each other showing how truly exemplary each of their characters’ was. Reflecting on that experience, I know it helped me grow and realize that as a future teacher I was going to have to make some difficult decisions, but in the end everything would be alright and I could be confident in my decisions.
On my final, final day at Bloom-Carroll I arrived at the auditorium 3 hours before their FFA Banquet was to begin, and for the next 6 hours I never stopped moving. We finished the final script, printed off seat cards, figured out the flow of the program, and just about any other last minute minor detail that comes with putting on a large banquet. I hold great respect for backstage managers now, and how they do what they do so perfectly. With the whirlwind of students coming and going backstage it was crazy. But amidst all that craziness, the banquet was a huge success and I was proud to see all of the students’ hard work.
When the night came to an end I was sad to say goodbye to many of the students I had come to know well, but I knew for some our paths would cross again. Those 11 days spent at the Bloom-Carroll FFA were some of the best memories I will have. Despite all the madness that comes with banquet week, I learned a lot and had fun doing it.
Christi Bachman showed me what it means to be an agriculture educator and FFA Advisor. She told me one day after school “This job isn’t just about teaching agriculture; it’s about being a leader, role model, coach, mentor, and counselor all wrapped into one person”. I thought about that statement a lot after that day and realized that if that’s what this job is, I know I’ve found my fit.