Hey, hey, ho, ho!
I had a hard time starting this letter with a greeting that was purely related to Christmas since I missed getting my letter out on time. Nevertheless it is with great joy that I send you and yours a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! The end of December snuck up on me quicker than I expected and here I am sitting down at the beginning of January to quickly review the happenings of 2008.
I found myself in the middle of my first year of teaching last January—I could hardly believe that I had survived one half a year and I was already looking forward to the start of summer vacation in MayJ As many of you who have teachers in your lives know, the first year is always the hardest and this mantra definitely held true for me. The most difficult challenges came in April and May as I struggled to work through some issues with multiple parents over philosophical differences related to the way I ran my FFA program. I have never been so challenged nor felt so attacked as I did then but in retrospect God knew what he was doing. At the time I felt very unprepared to deal with the issue but going through that time allowed me to truly develop and refine many of my teaching philosophies related to both instruction and my intra-curricular FFA program.
I completed my first year by taking a team of four students to the National Land Judging contest in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma where we spent four days practicing and competing in evaluating various soil properties. I was very proud of my team for their effort and hope to take another team next year. (Side note: I am a soil geek at heart and was absolutely overjoyed to share some of my limited knowledge from college with my students.)
As always, my summer flew by packed with FFA leadership camps and conferences for my students as well as attending multiple professional development workshops. Among the most impactful was the National Agriscience Ambassador Academy held in Chestertown, Maryland last July. This week long workshop truly changed my approach to teaching both agriculture and science concepts and I was also able to meet some of the neatest Ag teachers from around the nation. Ag teachers are a unique breed and I am proud to count myself as one of them, especially after that week.
I entered my second year of teaching in August much refreshed and reenergized. I didn’t believe all those veteran teachers who told me that each year gets easier, but they were right. I feel more comfortable with the concepts I am teaching and am more prepared to be the authoritarian figure with my students. I am eager to start the spring semester continually trying new activities and approaches in presenting material. I know I will continue to be challenged as I teach but am truly grateful to be at the school I am. Before I started teaching I knew that I would enjoy teaching, but I never expected to love it as much as I do nor enjoy my students as much as I do. I am so blessed and content.
I anticipate 2009 will be another great year filled with the richness and abundance of God’s blessing. I look forward to the next time our paths cross and I pray that your family is healthy and happy.