Ag Teaching Professionalism

A Family of Teachers and Friends

Agriculture teachers are very unique and special people. They give their time to their community, their school, their students, program and their families. They are teachers and so much more. Agriculture students participate in activities that allow them to learn, grow and improve based to a large extent on their agriculture teacher’s guidance and involvement.

Agriculture teachers know other agriculture teachers to a greater extent than teachers in other disciplines. They have gone to school together, planned contests and activities together, attended meetings, beyond the school day, together and have worked towards the mutual success of the agriculture education program and the FFA. These mutual goals create an extended family of agriculture educators throughout the state and the nation. Wherever you go there is someone else nearby who is a kindred spirit.


Expectations of an Agriculture Educator

Some thoughts to help you keep your focus...

The expectations on an agriculture educator include a variety of activities within the SCHOOL, FFA and SAE divisions of the agriculture education program. Sometimes the agriculture instructor is called the “FFA teacher”, when we are so much more. It is essential to keep focused and remember that the agriculture teacher’s job is that of a teacher, a teacher of agriculture knowledge and skills. It is important to recognize who pays your salary and to take care of business at home before you allow your focus to lean towards winning a competition. An agriculture teacher is also expected to be involved in professional activities. This includes district meetings, state conference during the summer and participation in WAAE committees and activities. These opportunities allow a teacher to develop, grow and learn as well as improve our profession.

Remember: An organization is only as strong as its membership and all members need to be involved to develop and maintain its success.

The FFA and SAE programs are the reason that many agriculture instructors get into teaching in the first place. It is very easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out by the many competitions and activities that you want to be involved in. Remember to pick and choose those activities that are the most important to your program and to not choose too many activities. Activities close to home are those that will have the greatest impact on your program. Involvement in your community and school will help keep you focused on a strong local FFA program. As we all know, all agriculture students should be involved in an SAE program. The inclusion of group and experimental SAE have changed the SAE program but the focus is still the same, students are to be involved in agriculture activities beyond the classroom.

The activities should be centered around the student’s interest and career choice. Remember to document your activities in all areas of the agriculture program that go beyond the classroom. The appropriate use of your extended time is essential to a strong agriculture program, use your time to improve your students and your program with the direction of your advisory committee.

Agriculture education is not a job, it is a profession. We as professionals are responsible for maintaining and strengthening our program through member involvement, self improvement and unity of focus.


Code of Ethics and Public Image

Among the many factors that contribute to the professionalism of a teacher, ethics and public image are among the top. The topics are very closely related. You need to fit your personality to the community you represent. Pay close attention to the nature and background of the people you serve. You are the professional, but the community you serve deserves consideration. Clear professional and personal ethics will earn you respect, career success and personal fulfillment. Here are some basic tips for upholding ethical standards.

★    Never violate the integrity of a student

★    Always speak positively about colleagues

★    Avoid the use of inappropriate language

★    Realize, personal habits are often emulated by students

★    Hold to high moral standards

★    Stand firm on convictions as to what is right and wrong

★    Hold fast to a single standard

★    Keep your focus on what’s best for students

Strong ethics are the start of establishing a positive public image for yourself and your program. Those individuals who are successful are in tune with community expectations, are solid citizens, are fair, are forthright, and are

dependable. As Agriculture Educators, we need to follow the teachings of our creed.                                                                    

Dress Codes for WAAE Activities

The following Dress Guidelines have been established as a guideline to use for various events. These Guidelines can be applied to Summer Conference, State Convention, etc.

            Casual - Dress appropriate for activity and weather, hats allowed as appropriate for activity (sporting activities)

            Professional Casual - Appropriate shirt (chest slogan acceptable), Slacks or nice jeans, No open shoes, Hats allowed as appropriate for activity (tours)

            Business - Collared shirt or dress shirt, Slacks, No open shoes, No hats (meetings)

            Formal - Collared shirt or dress shirt, Jacket, Slacks, Dress shoes, No hats (Dresses are also appropriate for women) (banquet)

The following items are not appropriate in any situation

            Clothing with Sexist, Racist, Alcohol or Tobacco Slogans

            Excessively Low Cut/High Cut Tops

            Short Shorts/skirts

Professional activities should mean dressing professionally. Specifically, for conferences it is recommended business casual during the day and appropriate casual wear for the evening activities. 

Professional dress is also dressing for our responsibilities, so it is important to dress appropriately for desired tours. If we do not dress as professionals, we cannot complain when we are not recognized and treated as professionals. We set an example for the students in our care. 

When at formal FFA events, if your students are in official dress, you should be dressed up as well.