Teaching agriculture is more than a profession. For many, it is a lifestyle. Being in a position to influence the lives of others is a goal that many strive for, and agriculture teachers are able to exert their influence on a daily basis on their students, their peers, and their community. Jesse Bower, an agriculture teacher at Fresno State, has always had a strong passion for teaching agriculture. She now uses this passion to prepare the next generation of agriculture educators.
Having grown up on her stepfather’s ranch, Bower has been exposed to agriculture from an early age. She has been involved in 4H and FFA throughout her life and has allowed these experiences to shape her perspective of the world and those that interact with the industry. She determined at a young age that helping others understand where their food comes from was the role she wanted to fill.
“Through these experiences, I learned agriculture is small in the sense of the people that actually work in the industry, and we really provide for the whole world,” Bower said. “So how can I teach all the people that don’t know where their milk comes from, where it comes from?”
Bower claimed that she has never wanted to have any other job than teaching others about their food and how it is produced. She finds great joy in being able to spread this information and helping her students develop an understanding of the industry and leadership skills to use this knowledge effectively.
“My strongest belief in education is the development of the entire individual,” Bower said. “I do that with my college students, and I did that with my high school students. Sometimes you’re a nurse, sometimes you’re a counselor, sometimes you’re a mom, even before I had kids.”
Apart from the traditional role of a teacher in helping students learn a particular subject, teaching agriculture has the added role of impacting the lives of the students in the program. Bower has dedicated her life to helping her students grow and develop in their personal and professional lives. Now that this has shifted from helping high school students find their passion to helping college students develop into strong members of the agriculture industry, she has slightly altered her specific teaching style, but the philosophy remains the same.