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The Only Thing That Doesn't Change | President's Message

NickNelsonThis will be my tenth year as an instructor in the state of Oregon and one thing I have noticed in that short period of time is that, be it ODE, ESD or your immediate institution there comes that latest, greatest idea that someone has thought up. Most of the time it just makes my job harder or it creates more paperwork. Usually it is not an original idea anyway-what's the deal! I suppose that education is circular and as long as we are spiraling upwards it makes sense.

The longer I teach the more comfortable I get in my position and the less I like CHANGE. I suppose that happens to all of us at a point in time. I am reminded however by my favorite college instructor: Doc Patten-who had taught 30+ years and was a self-proclaimed "Life Long Learner"-that the only thing that doesn't change is change itself.

Over the past five years Oregon has had a huge turnover of Ag Teachers, which has brought us a ton of new and energetic teachers who are swimming in all the requirements that it takes to simply teach their students. These young teachers can usually adjust well to the changing tides of education, but it leaves them up in arms with traditional program needs.

My message is simply this: Communication and Cooperation are the keys to surviving CHANGE. Younger teachers need to make some phone calls to the more experienced teachers to make their new program a success. The experience teachers need to have an open door policy and check in on the younger teachers and see where they can be of assistance. The neatest thing about our teacher organization is that we have great cooperation compared to any teaching group in the state-and every other teacher group knows it!

The Umpqua District used to have what they called an "Attitude Adjustment Meeting". This meeting usually occurred when one or more teachers were about to strangle their administrator. This special meeting was held at an Ag Teachers house and special beverages were provided (as a kid I was involved as the Gopher). These meetings helped this group of teachers realize that they were not alone and that there was support for one another.

The business of agriculture education is not a job, but a lifestyle. I truly believe that if you want to be successful and you want your students to be successful it's going to take time and the support of your community and your Ag teaching partners; and then CHANGE is not a real big deal.