Califonia Bountiful

Tracy Dickinson

6th-8th Grade Teacher
Scott Valley Jr. High, Siskiyou County

This interview was originally published on CFAITC's blog, "The Fencepost."

How and when did you first learn of Ag in the Classroom?  
In 2007 I was at a Farm Bureau dinner with my daughter who received a scholarship. They honored an Imagine this… Story Writing Contest winner from Grenada and encouraged teachers to become involved. I was teaching English in seventh and eighth grades at the time and thought it would be a good program to implement. We have had five state winners in the six years we have been participating in the Imagine this… Story Writing Contest.

How long have you been teaching students and why did you choose to become an educator?
I have been teaching for 12 years. I've always wanted to be a teacher. I finished my credentialing after my two daughters went back to school.

What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
The Imagine this… Story Writing Contest. I am impressed with how well the student winners are honored. I know some of my past winners have gained so much confidence that they go on to do big things in FFA in high school. They are representing our community in a positive way.

Tell us about one person who has most influenced your own education and educational career.  
I would have to say Melanie Fowle. Melanie was my AP English teacher in high school. She wasn't always my favorite teacher, but as I started teaching I really respected her way of teaching. Holding the students accountable in a caring way is something I think is important.  

Describe any agriculture-based projects you have been involved in lately.
I have community members come in as guest speakers. We show the students how important agriculture is, and honor those who do it every day. We have learned a lot in the last six years. I also have my past state-winning author Emma Morris come in to do beef presentations for my class.

Do you have any advice for other teachers on implementing agriculture into the classroom?
Just do it! AITC has amazing resources and is very supportive.

Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?  
I think it is very important to realize that agriculture is the most "green/organic" way of life. I know those terms are very trendy and hot right now, but I feel that agriculture and farmers are the original custodians of the Earth. We can learn a lot from them, not just about agriculture but their way of life. I feel that sometimes politics take over and what is really important gets lost. As a person who lives in a very rural part of California, I love seeing that Sacramento is trying to educate the rest of the state about agriculture. It isn't always popular, but it is the most important thing we do in our state.

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