CASE Teacher: Rick Hodges
School: Kiefer High School in Kiefer, OK
Where: Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR) and Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant (ASP)
Activity 4.2.4 Profiling Soil:
I am a hands-on learner and being outside studying and learning about the earth that produces life sustaining crops was exciting and fulfilling. To actually put my hands on what we were learning about made the lesson more memorable and effective. All of the activities, projects, and problems in the curriculum bring education to life for me.
In April of 2011, I retired from the United States Army, completing 27 1/2 years of service. As I sought direction for the next chapter of my life, I felt led to work with young people as a teacher, mentor, and coach. I began the process of alternative certification in Oklahoma through the Troops to Teachers program. As I was working towards certification, I became a substitute teacher. One area I served as a substitute frequently was agricultural education. Although the Oklahoma State Department of Education required me to first certify in an area related to my degree, my dream became to eventually complete my certification as an agriculture teacher.
In the spring of 2016, I earned my certification as an agriculture teacher. My weakest area on my agricultural education state certification exam was plant science. I heard from the agriculture teacher at the school where I was teaching math and social studies about the CASE Principles of Agricultural Science - Plant Institute in Ardmore, OK. I registered for that institute and even earned a scholarship to attend. The ASP CASE Institute changed my whole concept of teaching and increased my knowledge in plant science. I became such a fan of the CASE,I decided right then to pursue attending the AFNR CASE Institute. I attended the CASE AFNR Institute this summer as I prepare to implement an agricultural education program at Kiefer High School, which has never had such a program, during the 2017-18 school year. I intend to use AFNR as my base introduction course and continue attending CASE Institutes for advance courses as I make CASE the foundation of my agricultural education program.
To become an alternatively certified agriculture teacher, I had to demonstrate the base knowledge of the major components of agriculture. The challenge I faced was, how do I convey my knowledge to my students. The CASE curriculum is a perfect fit for me. CASE compiles all the information in a package that helps me easily teach the concepts of agriculture. The most attractive component of CASE is it incorporates hands-on activities, projects, and problems to enhance learning and get students to think rather than just process information they read. CASE is a ready-made product that helps eliminate numerous hours of prep designing or finding the hands-on activities I want in my agriculture education program. To me, the phrase from the FFA motto "Doing to Learn" is the essence of our agriculture education program.