So I agreed to do an interview over the reasons people quit being an ag-ed teacher and why they don’t get back into the game. My exit from the profession was a little different than most, but not all. I should have quit teaching in 2005. I didn’t. My arrogance, and the women that I live with convinced me to move to Fairview. We did. Fine. Looking back, I would rather have been castrated with a rusty spork (as long as the signs are right) as to teach at Fairview; however, it was a good move for the family. Besides, my legal event was cheaper and easier than a divorce/ therapy/ rehab. I wouldn’t recommend it, but it served its purpose. If you need to know more about my exit, buy the book.
Now why don’t they get back into the game? First and foremost, is that the real world sets in. A GOOD ex-ag teacher can make way more money, working fewer hours, fewer weekends and dealing with less BS while still helping kids learn about ag. Second, you realize what kind of waste of time, double standard crap goes on in public education dealing with administrations and OKcareertech.
1–Twelve month contracts–Oklahoma ag teachers are on twelve month contracts. Great–they should be. But they also should be allowed to use their 2 weeks vacation when they NEED a vacation. Like, the Tuesday morning after the premium sale at OYE after having lived in a hotel for 13 nights at OYE, the week after the District show, which was the day or two after the County show, which was a day or two after the local show (which local shows should be illegal). All of this while having less than 3 weeks to get ready for PI speeches and CDE contests and only a couple of weeks after a proficiency deadline. Not to mention getting crap ready for a sub to cover your classes. Throw in a convention and a banquet as well as actually teaching class. Give a person a break and don’t make them feel guilty about taking a day off. Some need it in order to recharge batteries. And they will be better in the classroom after a day of rest.
2–CESI reports/ follow up reports–In the real world, there is a paper trail that leads to commissions, bonuses, etc. The careertech office piles an assload of reports on ag-ed teachers. The CESI report is nothing but a report to justify somebody’s job in the state office. And when an ag teacher calls the state office requesting info from the CESI report, you can’t get an answer. True story. Obviously I’m still pissed about it. Another occasion had me doing all of Fairview’s students. I traded Roller. “I will do the CESI report, if you collect sausage money.” I did them all in my name. The state office calls and wants me to do ONE student in Roller’s name so that there is not a red flag next to his. After all of the log-ins, etc. an hour of my life later, everything is fine with the state office. All of the students were accounted for on the first report. So why waste somebody’s time? That is their job.
3–Gate duty–no other teacher builds/repairs stuff for the rest of the school. That alone should absolve them from doing gate duty, prom sponsor, class sponsor, etc. Even bad ag teachers do more community service with the chapter, than anybody else in the school. That should cover gate duty. Good administrators acknoweldge this fact.
4–Collecting money. It gets old collecting nomination fees, entry fees, sausage money, vet bills, jacket money, MFE expenses, alumni camp money, etc. One, it is a pain in the ass because kids will lie, parents will lie, etc. Two, when buying show animals, is the money coming out of a personal account? I have a whole pile of stories on this subject. However, it always came out of the Chris Kelln personal account. Did I charge interest? No. Did people pay in a timely fashion? Not normally. Did I spend a little more on some animals in order to get a good one? Yes, and that is my fault/addiction. Money well spent if the kid did a good job. Money pissed away if they didn’t.
5–The state office needs to do a better job of scheduling due dates. Their job is to help teachers and students. Don’t schedule worthless contests. See: opening ceremonies contest. Keep the State FFA Convention about the kids, not the monetary sponsors.
6–Time. A person has more time to themselves and family if they are not teaching. Time is money. The amount of time that active ag teachers spend on the job is staggering. This is probably the single biggest dilemma. All of the first 5 items add up to waste of time on the job.
I am not bashing anybody. I worked for some very good school administrations. I also worked for some that were less than par. I have friends in the state careertech office. I have an opinion on the subject and this is the CENSORED version. There is way more from where this came. And I am not opinionated, I’m just always right.
I hold a good ag teacher in higher regard than most lawyers, all politicians, some doctors, and most school administrators. Why? A good ag teacher does more good for a community and it isn’t about the paycheck. Until you get out.