By Emily Kilmer
Most people in agriculture agree that FFA members are going places, and my first “place” is a state FFA office.
One privilege of being an Indiana FFA state officer is developing speeches and presenting thoughts to others. I had this honor back in November, and spoke to senior citizens about how FFA isn’t just for farmers. After my speech, many said, “You are going places.”
But the words they said after that caught me by surprise. “You are going places, like the CEO of a company or a head research scientist.” Indeed, those careers involve “going places,” and I would be honored to have them. However, my aspirations don’t lie in such careers. I kindly explained my plans to go to Purdue University and major in agricultural education.
That prompted some of them to explain how I need to change majors to become a chief executive officer or scientist. Why is the phrase “You are going places” often followed up with the words “like the CEO of a company”? Why isn’t being an ag teacher considered “going places”?
I soon discovered that the answers lie within the eye of the beholder. FFA members are destined for greatness, no matter if that means being a head research scientist or a teacher. Both are fulfilling careers, and both will transform agriculture.
Why teach agriculture?
Agriculture teachers have the honor of shaping the future leaders of not only FFA, but the agriculture industry. This places an enormous task on their backs as they’re trusted to educate youth and create leaders. But the role of an ag teacher runs much deeper than education. They’re responsible for transporting students to contests, spending late nights in the classroom and much more. They’re a mentor to many and a trusted adult in times of need.
FFA advisors push students to reach their full potential, both in and out of the classroom. Premier leadership, personal growth and career success run in their core. Many times, a student’s future career is shaped by the impact an FFA advisor left on him or her. There are never enough words to thank our advisors. Although this career may seem strenuous, an agriculture teacher helps students “go places,” which is the biggest honor of all.
No matter the path Indiana FFA members take in their future, I guarantee you will never find a more dedicated, hardworking and prepared employee. To some, teaching agriculture is perceived as a lesser job than being a CEO. To me, there’s no greater career path I’m destined for than teaching agriculture. I’m going places. I’m going to be an educator and shape the future minds of the agriculture industry.
Kilmer is the 2017-18 Indiana FFA state secretary.