By: Nicole Borba, Dinuba High School
Each year, the National FFA Organization selects representatives for the National FFA Teacher Ambassador program. These ambassadors represent teachers like you, and dedicate a year of service to promoting and sharing available tools from National FFA to educators. This year, California is well represented with three ambassadors for the 2020-2021 term: Jordana Faria, Jason Ferreira, and myself, Nicole Borba. We wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves, provide an overview of the program, and how we can help you.
Starting with introductions, hailing from the Central Region, we have Jordana. Jordana teaches at Le Grand High School and is serving as a first time ambassador. She says, “my favorite part about serving as ambassador is introducing new teachers to the materials that are available at their fingertips…. all for free!”
From the San Joaquin Region, we have two ambassadors. Jason, who teaches at Hanford High School, is serving his second term as an ambassador. Jason shares, “my interest in serving in leadership positions for the ag teaching profession is what truly motivated me to pursue a position as an ambassador. Sharing the National FFA resources is an exciting way to connect with other agriculture teachers and build a network of talented teachers.”
I am also serving as a first year ambassador and currently teach at Dinuba High School. I have loved the opportunity to network with fellow educators and give back. With our schedule always seeming to be jam-packed, sharing ways to make our daily routines a little easier has been a delight. My favorite part of serving in this capacity is seeing how many different tools we can implement so easily, to strengthen all three circles, and make our planning easier.
The ambassadors are trained in regards to the numerous resources available from National FFA and are here to serve you and be an asset to your program with the implementation of these tools. We provide training to educators about the curriculum, chapter resources, and experiences offered by National FFA. Many of these resources are not widely known to a lot of teachers, including us when we first began this journey. What is great about this program, is we get to share these resources with you to make your planning a little easier. Most of these lessons and curriculum are ready to implement into your classroom, as well as being editable to fit your individual needs. With our busy schedules, having something pre-made and ready to implement can be a game changer.
To help spread awareness of these resources, ambassadors put on workshops and professional development opportunities for current and pre-service teachers to walk them through some of the resources, how-to guides, how to utilize FFA.org, ideas for implementation and sharing experiences with these tools within programs. In addition to sharing the resources available, ambassadors provide feedback from the educational field to the national level about a variety of topics and ways in which tools can be improved or become more user-friendly. We are a voice for the teachers and states we represent.
Our roles as ambassadors for California began in June, and we’ve been keeping busy ever since. After a week-long virtual training session, due to the current circumstances, your ambassadors have aimed to have a big impact within our state. We feel honored for every workshop we get to put on and the ability to help our fellow owls. Since we began, we have provided professional development opportunities to the CATA Summer Conference attendees, UC Davis student teachers, National FFA Convention educators, State-wide Roadshow and the New Professionals Institute. In addition, we answer questions one-on-one and on social media platforms. Once a month, we try to share a resource on the California Ag Ed Discussion Lab or pass along information from the national organization to you.
Are you, or a group of teachers, looking for professional development and training on the various resources available through National FFA? Reach out to one of us ambassadors! You can find our contact info at here, in the CATA Directory, or connect with us over social media. We can tailor workshops to fit your needs, provide a range in workshop length, focus on a specific resource or provide a broad overview of all resources. We are here to serve you CATA!
If you are interested in applying to serve as a Teacher Ambassador, applications become available at the beginning of February on FFA.org. Applicants move forward to an interview process before final selections are made. Ambassadors serve a one-year term, June to June. In person ambassador trainings are held at the National FFA Center and accrued travel expenses are covered by National FFA. This is a great opportunity for you to give back to your fellow educators, as I know we have thoroughly enjoyed helping you, getting to meet new teachers, and share the bountiful resources National FFA has to offer.
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/