“The Greatest of These is Love”: Reflections on the 2016 Indiana FFA State Convention and Teaching Agriculture

Last year, thoughts on the 86th Indiana FFA State Convention ricocheted violently through my head for two days before I forced myself to sit down at 10:30 at night, write reflections on the convention and press “Publish.” I was sharing too much of myself, being too vulnerable. I didn’t want to put it all out there.

But I did.

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The state officers performing opening ceremonies on stage in Elliott Hall of Music during the 87th Indiana FFA State Convention.

This year, I started forming this post in my head during convention and knew there was no choice: I had to write it when I returned home. No longer did the vulnerability of revealing so much of myself make me tremble. As an agriculture teacher, I had become used to being vulnerable. I had learned early on I needed to let my guard down, needed to let people in, if this teaching thing was going to be any success at all.

But, when I first began, I did not want to. I did not want them to know me. Not the me who squealed in excitement over ice cream flavors, not the me who tripped and fell over pebbles, not the me who jumped when snuck up on, not the me who loved hobbits and X-wing fighters and The TARDIS. I was going to be calm and confident, always knowing the answers to my students’ questions, always replying to arguments with wit and good humor, never letting my flaws show and most of all, never letting them see that the last four years had been rough and that my confidence was shot because of it. I didn’t know how to smile anymore. Letting anyone in, especially 90 complete strangers, was the last thing I wanted to do.

But it was the first thing I needed to do.

I didn’t.

So for the first month and a half of school, Miss Brown was a character far away from who Elise was. It stressed me out, and I would come home absolutely drained.

Worst of all, I hated myself because of it. Continue reading ““The Greatest of These is Love”: Reflections on the 2016 Indiana FFA State Convention and Teaching Agriculture”

Updates, Many of Which Happily Deal with Writing and Communications

Just thought I’d take this opportunity of a two-hour delay (a result of heavy fog) to write down some tidbits from teaching lately.

The most recent happenings were district leadership Career Development Events, competitions where FFA members give speeches or demonstrations, participate in a job interview, write a persuasive essay and more. Five of my students competed, and one won in essay! So he will be competing at state. When I read the essay the next morning before heading to work, I about cried because it was such beautiful writing.

Probably the neatest moment of that was when he was congratulated on stage, one of his best friends was standing there as a district officer, and the look on their faces as they shook hands was priceless. Continue reading “Updates, Many of Which Happily Deal with Writing and Communications”

Love, Lead and “Go All Out”: Reflections on the 2015 Indiana FFA State Convention

Love, Lead and “Go All Out”: Reflections on the 2015 Indiana FFA State Convention

The name of this blog is “Roots Run Deep,” yet I spend much time in the avoidance of penning the things that strike me deep. I don’t write about the Purdue University “All-American” Marching Band outside of my occasional note about recent performances. I don’t write about what ten years in 4-H meant to me. And most of all, I don’t write about the National FFA Organization, other than surface postings of the FFA Creed and congratulations to the new state officers. It’s tough for me to write about what it means to be an FFA alum, an ag communicator, a Purdue Boilermaker, a writer, a Christian. So I don’t.

The first time the 2006-2007 Indiana FFA State Officer Team took the stage.
The first time the 2006-2007 Indiana FFA State Officer Team took the stage.

But last week, I cried more than I have since my team’s state FFA convention or even in my last few days at Purdue.

And the National FFA Organization — more specifically, the Indiana FFA Association — was the reason why. Continue reading “Love, Lead and “Go All Out”: Reflections on the 2015 Indiana FFA State Convention”