Now, before there is a freak out from educators saying that every class in the school system is needed to succeed, I would have to agree. Math, Science, Social Studies, and English are all important. The thought process of algebra or being able to dissect a sentence have important use for every student, across the nation. But with a simple google search of “things I wish I had been taught in high school,” those lessons were not pulled up. The things that most wish they would have learned are things not written in a textbook or even taught on a projector. They are life lessons. Real life things.
These were some of the repeated items that were pulled from multiple blogs/websites when the line “things I wished I had been taught in high school”:
-How to deal with stress-How to change a tire-How to balance a checkbook-How to write a resume- Handy skills-Time Management-How to think for yourself-
Now, to the title of “Forgotten Classes,” slightly dramatic, yes, but not near as off the wall as many would think.
There is an eleven letter word that sums up all of the “I wish I had been taught” moments, this word is slightly deceiving based on the connotation that many have placed on it.
Whaaaaaaaat? Agriculture. No way. That is where you learn about cows and farming, not checkbook or time management or dealing with stress…. Oh but it is.
Agriculture classes and the extra-curriculum that comes along with it FFA events and SAE projects all teach those moments. And here is how:
- Agriculture classes are based on real life experiences and have multiple teaching moments, both inside and outside of the classroom.
These teaching moments happen, even when the teachers were not meaning too. Road tripping to a stock show, a tire blows on the trailer, truck full of students, time to teach. Get them out and show them, in the moment, how to quickly and safely change a tire. Quick lessons. Along with that, agriculture classes teach that not everyone needs to go to college. WHAT. Pump the brakes. Rewind… what!? Yes. Not everyone is cut out for college, many learn, that they need to head to a trade school (which is nothing short of a remarkable education). They learn with their hands. These are the guys and girls that go on to become amazing horse trainers, welders of all trades, the plumbers, the electricians, the dog groomers. The jobs that many look down on as insignificant, but without them, life would become a mess… and pretty quickly.
2. There is more professional development involved than many would assume.
Those blue and gold jackets that FFA students wear every day not only symbolize the organization that the members are apart of, but they also teach how to be poised and polished in rain, snow, or extreme heat. Ask any member of the Texas FFA if corduroy is hot in the summer and cold in the winter, they will tell you a list of stories, but they always laugh and smile. They wear that because they know it is required of them, and it is a part of their job. Also, there are multiple times when, standing at a cattle show, you could strike up a conversation with the owner of a large breeding operation. Networking happens in the least likely places, but happens so quickly you never saw it coming. Resume building? No problem. There is a contest that is called, Job Interview. Yes you read that correctly. Job Interview. Students write a resume and cover letter, and also go through a mock phone and in person interview. They are then critiqued and judged based on that. HOW COULD YOU NOT WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR JOB INTERVIEWING SKILLS?!
3. Lastly, how to deal with stress and time management skills.
I know, every day there is a small part of stress that we all like to refer to as life. It happens. But in the agricultural classrooms around the country, stress is shown in different ways and ideas are found. These “stresses” are short lived because, usually there are many others involved. The stresses that happen are followed with quick reaction times and solutions to the problem. Along with time management skills. Most in agriculture programs have at least one or two projects whether those projects are animal or mechanics or something entirely different. They must balance core curriculum classes, then head to ag classes where they keep up to date on record books (pretty much a check book… holy heck they learn how to keep balances of that), then are handed a list of dates that they will be gone for contest or show or all of the above, oh wait, did I mention that most are highly involved other parts of the school! These can include but not limited to one act play, FCCLA, Student Council, Athletics, but then throw in outside activities like church youth group or rodeo and these students have a full list of items on their plate, constantly! But they learn time management, but they also learn a valuable lesson, when to say “Yes” to a task and when to know your limit and say “No, I am full, but I know someone who would be incredible at that job.”
So, for all of you saying that you missed out on those opportunities, hopefully you can share some light for future high school students. Agriculture classes are not just about cows, sows, and plows. These classes development your leadership skills, time management, learning the quality of life, friendships that last lifetimes, and most of all, your willingness to succeed in life… not just high school.
When curious about what classes develop you into an adult that can survive and strive in performance in the real world, remember those forgotten classes.