Texas FFA News  
Why I Teach Ag: Becky Maass    
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 | Author: Texas FFA News

What ag education classes do you teach?
I teach Horticulture, Advanced Plant and Soil Science, Greenhouse Operations, Vet Med, and Floral Design. In the past, I have taught Principles of Ag, Small Animal Management, and Equine Science.
Why do you teach ag?
I love sharing my passion for agriculture with students and seeing their "light bulbs go off." Many students take an agriculture class to make a floral design or learn about dogs/cats in vet med, but their eyes are opened to the vast opportunities. They start understanding the world of agriculture and how important it is to sustain our future for generations. It's exciting to help others learn to love the agricultural way of life.

I also love that I am not confined to an office indoors; we get to go out to the greenhouse/gardens or learn how to doctor an animal, and this kind of hands-on learning reaches kids. And it makes my job fun!

We try to find our "reason" God gives us talents and how we are to best use them, and I feel that I get to make a difference in people's lives since I am an ag teacher. I love seeing the positive impact, growth, and learning in these young people and seeing how I can be a light in their lives.

What is your favorite classroom memory as a teacher?
I love being surprised by my students, in a good way, regarding their behavior and work ethic. For example, I had a boy that switched into my class halfway through the second semester. This means he had missed all of my floral safety, the floral design principles, elements, etc. He was coming into the class when the fun design-making was happening. He didn't speak much, which led me to assume that I knew his "bad boy" type, that he was "too cool" for school and made questionable choices. But in fact, it was the exact opposite for this guy. The more I got to know him (which took several weeks), I noticed his drawings and artwork in his journal. He was extremely talented and explained that he does illustrations for books. Then as we became good friends, he showed me how he could solve the Rubik's cube in 10 seconds after I scrambled it up as hard as possible. He was an extremely interesting and highly intelligent student, which made me even more intrigued with him. These "aha" moments are the best when it comes to who the actual students are within those tough exterior walls.

What is your favorite FFA memory?
My favorite FFA memory has to be a combination of two instances; they occurred in the same year and involved one of the same students. That year, I had two seniors and two sophomores on my horse judging team. One of the sophomores won the $10,000 first-place scholarship at the San Antonio Livestock Show out of over 600 students. Having her mom on the phone and in tears was a highlight! Later that season, this same team sat around the table at Joe's Crab Shack in Lubbock after the state contest, hashing about their scores. They had won the state horse judging title and would be heading to the national competition.

Why do you believe that ag education is so important?
I feel we are to help kids grow, blossom, mature, and succeed. And in our ag classes, this is easily done. Sometimes in a traditional or core classroom, there are not a lot of chances to connect with students on a more personal level. However, we guide students through making life or career-changing decisions with ag education. We even spend numerous hours with students on the road furthering their learning. You develop a strong relationship with some of these kids. It teaches them responsibility, determination, and competitiveness, which will help them succeed. Students return and tell me they learned more in my classes and by doing FFA competitions than in the other courses. And so the main reason I think ag education is so important is all of the "extras" it provides outside of a traditional learning experience.

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