As a child, when asked what you want to be when you grow up, you may have said any number of random occupations. From teacher, to doctor, to fireman, to chef, to superhero, etc. For me, the answer was always a teacher. Being a daughter of two teachers, teaching is the only thing I ever considered doing with my life. Now, in my fifth year of teaching agriculture, I am ready to begin my journey into teacher organizations. Being chosen as an ACTE New Professional Fellow, I have been assigned a mentor from my neighbor state, Arkansas, with a much different background story.
Michelle Camp was never the top of her class in school, and was never sure what she wanted to do when she grew up. It wasn’t until she walked into her first computer class in high school and met her business teacher that she really found where she belongs. Her business teacher was the first person to appreciate her ability to speak, and encouraged her to participate in FBLA speaking events. She spent the rest of her high school years in every business class she could fit into her schedule, so when she was ready to begin college, there was really no other option. She teaches business and marketing, and strives each day to reach those students who are searching for a place to belong. The most rewarding aspect of her job is to show students their potential, like her business teacher revealed to her in high school.
Michelle and I share a concern about the future of CTE: the cost of maintaining equipment. With the push for increased CTE programs, many businesses are providing funding to purchase needed equipment for schools. The challenge we see is the cost of maintaining that equipment, or replacing it once it becomes unrepairable, and what to do with the equipment once it is no longer repairable or needed. It is wonderful that companies are willing to work with schools and school districts to provide funding for necessary equipment, but we need to look to the future and prepare for maintenance of this equipment in order to keep our programs running properly and successfully.
Once I was chosen for this fellowship, I began thinking of what I wanted to gain from this experience. After talking with Michelle, I learned that better understanding of advocacy is exactly what I want and will get through this program. Advocacy is extremely important for continual support for CTE. One major goal I have for this fellowship is to gain more understanding of advocacy and the ability to properly and successfully advocate for CTE programs in my district, state, and country.