On Tuesdays at ABAC, many students may be seen dressed up around campus. These students are part of our school’s emerging course in agricultural education. Every Tuesday, professors Sallie McHugh and Frank Flanders require their students to dress professionally. Dr. McHugh said, “I think that it’s important for the students to gain an understanding of professionalism for their future careers.”
Teacher Tuesdays focus on the work environment of agricultural education. By requiring their students to dress professionally, these professors are implementing an ideal standard that the students can follow. When asked why they thought this concept was important, the students agreed with McHugh. One student, in particular, Reece Bozeman said, “By dressing professionally every Tuesday, we are requiring ourselves to prep our minds and our closets for real-world opportunities to come.”
Networking is another significant component of the agricultural education profession. ABAC’s agricultural education department recently visited Eighth Street Middle School in Tifton and had the opportunity to execute their skills learned through classroom activities, such as Teacher Tuesdays.
A student in the class said, “When you go throughout the day looking professional, you feel better about yourself, and I think this plays a key role in our mindset. If we look and feel professional, the people around us pick up on that.” McHugh continued to brag on her students’ behavior but recalled some occasions in the past that were not as successful. McHugh concluded that opportunities and activities such as Teacher Tuesdays allow students to grow in their profession while networking. She and her students feel that they owe many of their successes to this “required daily grade,” as Bozeman pointed out.
Along with Teacher Tuesdays, agricultural education majors have many opportunities outside of the classroom to practice professionalism. For instance, they participate in ABAC’s Collegiate Future Farmers of America (FFA).
McHugh proposed that the events her students participate in through FFA allow them to implement their professional skills through dressing nice, communicating and networking. They also participate in National Teach Ag Day, a day designed to recognize the important role that agriculture teachers play in our schools and communities.