Teachers learn ways to bring agriculture to the classroom
A group of elementary school teachers from across Texas recently spent a week on Tarleton State University's campus participating in the 15th annual Summer Agricultural Institute.
The Texas Farm Bureau sponsors the event in which educators attend workshops and participate in activities learning ways to take agriculture back to their classrooms. The teachers receive continuing education credits to help satisfy the requirements of their local school districts and three hours of graduate credit from Tarleton.
The week's events included a field trip with destinations such as Veldhuizen Cheese Shoppe, Callaway Rope Company, Dublin Dr Pepper, Sierra Dairy and more.
At the end of their visit, the teachers were treated to a catered dinner at Tarleton's dining hall. Keynote speaker Dr. George Austin, retired agronomist from Texas AgriLife Research, reiterated the week's message of the importance of agriculture in the classroom.
"I'm excited you're interested in adding ag education in your classes," Austin said. "Things are changing quite a bit in this world, and it's important that our kids know how important agriculture is."
Some of the teachers were understandably hesitant about spending part of their summer vacation in a classroom setting.
"At first, I didn't want to come," said Cathy Wheaton, a pre-kindergarten teacher from the Iola school district. "But we learned so much, and I loved it. I would do it again in a heartbeat."
Dr. Sandra Graham, associate professor in Tarleton's agriculture services and development department, worked with Texas Farm Bureau to bring the educators to the university.
"They take an entire week out of their summer to improve their classrooms and give back to their students," Graham said. "I really appreciate their dedication."