My Superhero is an Agriculture Teacher

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

It seems today there are a number of characters that have the distinction of being called a superhero. From Superman to Batman, Wonder Woman to Elektra, and from the Black Panther to Doctor Strange, you can take your pick; everyone has their favorite.

According to Passionate Views, there are seven characteristics found in superheroes. These are: 

  1. Super-Factor – what powers define them.
  2. Courage – bravery is the central part of the job.
  3. Sacrifice – puts others before them.
  4. Strong Moral Code – provides justice.
  5. Inspiration – motivates others to do good in life.
  6. Good Character – not what they want, but what others need.
  7. Flaws – no one is perfect, even superheroes have their weaknesses.

The more effort you put in, the more you become like your favorite character, not in the costume, but in your everyday actions.

When I look at agriculture teachers, I see a modern-day hero. They leap tall fences with a single push, are faster than a bull that sees red, and are more powerful than the local superintendent. A glance at the seven characteristics and you will find, in a watermark, the simple statement, agriculture teacher.

  1. Super-Factor – Agriculture teachers are highly trained to not only be a teacher, but also to be a counselor, a travel agent, and, in many instances, a parent. They are often found jumping from one task to another by simply entering their pickup wearing pressed shirts and slacks and exiting in coveralls. agriculture teachers drive trucks, vans, tractors, pull livestock trailers, and load portable scales with one arm.
  2. Courage – Have you been on an overnight trip with a few excited teenagers? Agriculture teachers step into the lives of students and risk everything to help them become real contributors to their communities. 
  3. Sacrifice – When the calendar turns to a new year, agriculture teachers begin the annual migration from one field day to the next. Every weekend is spent in a van with a group of students in search of perfection. The agriculture teachers put off family vacations, reunions, coaching their son or daughter’s team, and those evening dates. 
  4. Strong Moral Code – Fairness is the code for all agriculture teachers. When in the moment, they are as competitive as any athlete. They work hard and prepare and compete with vigor and determination. But, when the competition is over, you will find them having breakfast together. Agriculture teachers, even the most competitive, are eager to share their knowledge in hopes of stimulating others. They want to win, but the desire to win does not outweigh the desire to be fair and see the right students in the winner’s circle.
  5. Inspiration – Agriculture teachers, through personal stories (and a few that are made up), create an environment for students to see success. It is through their daily actions that their students find the desire to do well and to rise to the expectations of their teachers. The job of an agriculture teacher may be long, but what the students see is a committed person who makes time for them and truly wants them to succeed.
  6. Good Character – Agriculture teachers help at the church social on Sunday, drive the rooters bus to the Friday football game, set up for the 7 a.m. Monday teachers meeting, have coffee every Wednesday at the local breakfast diner with the farmers, build the Sophomore Class float Thursday nights, and find time to stop by the Tuesday City Council meeting in search of new projects. In each instance, the agriculture teacher is not looking for glory, they are simply fitting into their community and finding ways to help.
  7. Flaws – As with our superheroes, agriculture teachers also have their flaws. For many, they have never learned to say “NO!” They are notoriously ineffective in delegating work. They easily add to their calendar but rarely remove anything. Agriculture teachers give up their lunchtime to listen to students.

It is easy to see why agriculture teachers are my superheroes. Through it all, no matter the situation, when a fellow teacher lets out a simple cry, hundreds of agriculture teachers dawn their capes and soar to the rescue. In the past few years, we have seen these superheroes at work. They have found ways to stimulate student learning, create alternatives to in-class instruction and develop new avenues to allow students to grow in their leadership.

Thank you to those that have selected ag teaching as your career. Know that I see you for who you are. You may not wear your cape in public, but I see it tucked away, only to come out when needed. May 2021-2022 be a year for you to showcase your superhero characteristics.

Thank you for being my SUPERHERO!

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/

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