Learning from both sides of the lesson:
By Annette Tait
Becoming an Agriscience Ambassador has a lot in common with cramming for rigorous college entrance exams. Candidates spend a minimum of 10 hours – and often more – each day in class, doing homework, and even participating in learning activities during lunch breaks. They learned each lesson from a student’s perspective, then turned around to discuss the sessions from a teaching standpoint.
“It was nothing like any professional development I’ve ever done in my life,” said Center-Stanton High School Agriculture Education Teacher Nikki Fideldy of the DuPont National Agriscience Teachers Ambassador Academy. “It’s going to be hard to beat -- one day we were there 14 hours and it felt like five. So it was really good training.”
Fideldy was one of 24 agriscience teachers from throughout the nation to complete this year’s NATAA program and be designated an Agriscience Ambassador. Only 345 agriscience teachers from across the country have earned that designation in the 14 years the program has been in existence.
“They get hundreds of applications,” Fideldy said. “Every ag teacher in the nation has the opportunity to apply.”
Applicants are chosen based on their responses to essay questions that ask about their teaching styles, how they incorporate inquiry-based learning into their curriculums, their involvement in their schools and communities, and other relevant topics. The information helps reviewers get a picture of each applicant as an educator, and their suitability for the program and the ongoing responsibilities of an Agriscience Ambassador.