By Jessy Eggerling, Nebraska Teach Ag Intern
I’m sure by now, almost everyone has heard about the shortage of agriculture teachers in Nebraska. Last year, Nebraska was selected to be a part of the State Teach Ag Results (STAR) program, which was created to help states with agriculture teacher shortages to address the issues of recruitment and retention within the Ag Ed field. As part of the STAR program, Nebraska has developed a summer Nebraska Teach Ag Internship, in which Lacey Jo Peterson and myself are the first interns.
When I first heard about the Nebraska Teach Ag Internship, I immediately knew it was something I needed in order to gain more experience in the field of Agricultural Education. The main thing that I want to take away from this internship is learning about all of the resources available to help the current Ag Ed teachers, but also those available to me as a pre-service teacher and student teacher.
Lacey Jo chose to apply for the internship to explore the career of Agricultural Education, network with current Ag Ed teachers and industry members, and learn about experiences available to her future students. Her hope is that she will be able to fill in some gaps in her knowledge of the Ag Ed industry and prepare to be a great teacher.
So far, both of us have attended Chapter Officer Leadership Training (COLT), Nebraska Career Education (NCE) Conference, the CASE Institute, NAAE Region III Conference, and NPower Conference. We are also attending training with the Nebraska FFA Foundation to learn about the programs available to Ag Ed teachers as well as interview donors for the True Blue Nebraska News newsletter. Finishing up the internship will include business and industry visits, shadowing Ag Ed teachers at the Lancaster County Fair and visiting our respective student teaching sites.
It has been a great experience for both of us, and we have really enjoyed networking with the current Ag Ed teachers at the various conferences. We’ve always heard people talk about how Ag Ed teachers are one big family, and we have both really experienced that so far this summer. Every teacher we have interacted with has offered us pieces of advice, as well as any help we may need in the future. Taking part in this internship has instilled in both of us the fact that being an agriculture teacher is what we are meant to do with our lives.