Califonia Bountiful

Sarah Allard

First grade teacher
Community Outreach Academy, Sacramento County

This interview was originally published in the December 2011 issue of CFAITC's e-newsletter, "Cream of the Crop."

How and when did you first learn of Ag in the Classroom?
I first learned about Ag in the Classroom when I was getting my teaching credential. Someone from CFAITC came to my credentialing class and talked to us about the program.

What is your favorite AITC program/resource/event and why?
My favorite CFAITC event was San Francisco Farm Day—it was amazing! I wish there was an event like that for all of the schools in California. As a teacher, it was good to see another school. It was amazing to see a school that was in the middle of the city that had such an appreciation for agriculture.

What is the most profound impact that agriculture education/awareness has had on you?
This is a tough question. I think the biggest impact was the lack of awareness I saw in my students and the adult public. That really shows how important teaching agriculture is—if we don't teach it, they won't learn it!

Why do you believe it is important for our students to be agriculturally literate and aware in today's society?
People today are so removed for our agricultural background that most have no idea where their food, clothing, or shelter comes from. It is important to give students that connection with agriculture that they are not getting at home. Our students will be making future decisions that will affect farmers and ranchers across the country and they need to be prepared to make educated choices both at the polls and at the check stand.

Tell us about one person who has most influenced your own education and educational career.
My grandpa influenced my decision to start teaching. He was a teacher and a principal and I decided I wanted to be a teacher like him. As far as a person who has influenced my career—I would have to say my first grade teaching team. That is more than one person so it is kind of cheating, but I can't pick just one of them. They are amazing and I could not be the teacher that I am now without them. We share ideas and they never discourage me and are always there to support me along the way.

Tell us about a golden teaching moment.
At a parent-teacher conference this year, one of my parents told me that her daughter sits her grandpa down every day after school and teaches him what she learned in class about agriculture. A few weeks later, the same student brought me wheat instead of flowers—it was so sweet!

Do you have any advice for other teachers on implementing agriculture into the classroom?
I think the best advice is to just do it. Agriculture is everywhere and covers many standards in all grade levels. If you want to teach agriculture then just do it! Teaching is stressful with all of the testing and mandates from administrators—have some fun and teach what you love... you will cover the standards and your students (and you) will be much happier!

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