Agriculture teachers are expected to develop a personal “teaching philosophy” that guides their style and behavior as a teacher. Becca Duran, an agriculture teacher in Fort Bragg, California, bases her teaching philosophy on the significance of integrity.
Teaching philosophies are concepts that are often discussed in the early years of an agriculture education major’s college experience, and further developed as a student teacher. This philosophy is regarded as a vital piece of an effective teacher’s character.
The purpose of the teaching philosophy is to serve as a mission statement to remind an ag teacher how to conduct themselves, and their motivations for their behavior in and out of the classroom. However, this concept is not often discussed among teachers after their first year in the profession.
“I feel like ag teacher philosophies aren’t talked about enough,” Duran said. “It’s put on, as a student teacher, to develop one, but throughout my first year of teaching, I haven’t really been asked about it or during professional development, I can’t recall a time that it’s come up.”
This realization has caused Duran to contemplate discussing with her peers and mentors the significance and purpose of their teaching philosophies in their daily lives as agriculture teachers. It has also reinforced her understanding and assurance of her own teaching philosophy.
“The core part of my philosophy is integrity, and that integrity is a two-way street,” Duran said. “What I mean by that is ag teacher to students, students to ag teacher, ag teacher to program, program to ag teacher. It’s all important.”
This adherence to integrity guides the teaching style of Duran as she works within her community, with other teachers, and with her students. She hopes that her actions reflect this philosophy and that her example will be followed by those she interacts with.
Duran fears that teachers often lose sight of their teaching philosophies and their integrity. That the deterioration of these ideas is what causes the competitiveness that can be seen in some communities of the FFA organization. She hopes that teachers can be reminded of the reasons they are in the profession in the first place, and she plans to focus more on implementing her teaching philosophy in her classroom and community.