The summer has been a whirlwind ! Places to go, people to see, things to do. Trying to pack all this in the calendar and absorb it in my mind hasn’t been easy. Reflecting on the past six weeks, I concluded the following points.
The most interesting moment of the fellowship experience was being interviewed by a global panel of scientists at Bayer Crop Science. These people truly wanted to know our thoughts about connecting their work with students in the classroom. One in particular was very passionate about “what we need to do [Bayer scientists] to put our mission and life work into the classroom dialogue. This is the first time I’ve felt like my thoughts and opinions as a teacher were taken with value, not peppered with preconceived notions. My input and questions were respectfully received and answered.
Condensing all my experiences into a summary has been the most challenging aspect of my work. There are hundreds of photos on my cloud to remind me of what my notes really say, so that I can share the many things I’ve learned about agriculture, people, and life itself. Answering those FAQs has become easier, so that particular challenge has been conquered with experience: “What is the Kenan Fellowship”, “Why did you [computer teacher] want to do an agriculture fellowship”, “What do you hope to get out of this”, “What do you want to see/do”. Hopefully, the summary will be conquered before school begins.
There is one realization that stands out from the academic and interpersonal components of these experiences: None of the things I’ve participated in would have been possible without the Kenan program opening doors. Farm Bureau wouldn’t have asked me to visit these places. Bayer Crop Science wouldn’t have let me inside their labs. A computer teacher wouldn’t be able to garner community support for Mayberry Farm Fest. The list goes on. The KFP validated me. It has enabled me to network with people in other professions to connect common ground. And, for all those open doors, I am grateful.
Since my last post I have been busy working on the fellowship project. I find myself in an unfamiliar role, as I meet with school administration and community leaders in order to facilitate student involvement in a high profile community event. The Kenan Fellows Program has provided the platform to bring together schools, community organizations, and businesses to support a common goal, and I think that is wonderful ! As I introduce myself to other professionals, and exchange business cards, I hear so many complimentary things about our educational system and the work teachers do in the classroom, which is refreshing compared to how we are often portrayed in media reports.
I look forward to visiting more farms in the next two weeks, and working on the draft of our project for presenting in October.
What do you hope to gain from your fellowship experience?
I hope to gain insight into my practices in the classroom and as a colleague. I also hope to form a network of educator friends from across the state to gain a broader perspective of how teaching differs from each region.
- How do you plan to implement something you learned at the institute in your classroom?
- How has the week compared with other PD opportunities you have attended?
The institute gave me a different perspective on myself and my teaching style. The Myers-Briggs assessment was especially beneficial to me in learning how to relate to students, teachers, and administrators with different personalities and working styles from my own. It also helped me to understand how I think through my projects, and facilitate differentiation in classroom.
This Professional Development opportunity was much more personalized than any others I have attended. The PD actually allowed me to spend time working with my PLC of Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom colleagues. This week at NCCAT I met with the other teachers in the Kenan Fellowship Project and discussed the logistics of bringing Ag Night to actuality.
Wow, what a full first day ! I am looking forward to the remainder of the week ! I’ve enjoyed talking with the other Farm Bureau Ag Fellows and sharing some background and ideas about our projects. Many of my prior PD opportunities have prepared me well for the digital portion of this fellowship, so thank you Surry County Schools for quality teacher training workshops !