Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Spouses View of an Ag. Ed. Teacher

          My name is Alison Derringer.  I’m very excited to write for this blog and promote my belief in agricultural education. I will give the reader’s digest version of my experience: I took ag education class for the first time my senior year in high school. I loved the activities, values and the type of people I was around, but there were a lot of issues with the program and those who ran it.
         I decided that I wanted to teach ag ed and be the stability that I wish we had in my program. I met my husband Mike in college and we both took teaching offers 2 ½ hours away from one another after we graduated. We were both excited and I had loved student teaching so much, I thought having my own program would be just like that.
          My first year of teaching I describe as one I never want to relive again. I had issues with students who were use to virtually no structure. I worked so hard to get students involved, but never felt like I was satisfied with my position. I stayed a 2nd year and it was much better (I actually liked most of my students!), but the feelings of lacking knowledge in many areas plus other past failures bothered me too much.
           My husband, on the otherhand, is absolutely awesome at teaching ag and I wanted him to be the one doing something he truly loved.  We married one year ago and I am now active within the FFA Alumni program where Mike teaches and love to chaperone whenever needed. I currently work a part-time job and have a full-time business as a beauty consultant. I am loving life and love the flexibility to support Mike.
            Those of us that are spouses of ag teachers may not always understand why it is necessary for them to go in way early and stay late into the evening. Heck, working 25-30 hours in two days is nothing! But just know that they are making an impact in students’ lives in a way that standard subject teachers may not. Mike told me a few days ago that a student shared their desire to be an ag teacher. That meant more to him than any amount of money or recognition could. The ups and downs of any teaching position are stressful but I believe that ag teachers get the best rewards from their career. I only wish it was in my heart to want to teach again.
         Anyway, this is a busy week for Mike – soils practice and State Soil Judging Saturday since his teams placed 1st for Rural Soils and 2nd for Urban Soils. His school's county fair is this week and he will be at fair all week as he is the superintendent of the swine show along with his teaching partner plus his students are showing the first few days. He’ll need plenty of coffee! Hope all of you have a great week!


  1. It's always great to see spouses who make the ag teaching life work. My dad is an ag teacher and I know how hard the lifestyle can be on a marriage. I give major props to couples (married or not) who are willing to work through the long hours, never-ending passion for making students better and love for something that ranks almost as high as their significant other. :)

  2. Thanks, Amanda. I think the most rewarding part is that I get to spend time with his students and I get to know them on a personal level, too. This makes it so much easier to deal with the long hours and extended work days. :)