Brown’s Ag Class-Always a Favorite

Saveah Coggins

Mrs. Brown teaches the most popular class in the building, which is agriculture class. A lot of students seem to have a big interest in agriculture. Many can say Mrs. Brown makes it even more interesting than it already is. 

Since her class is so popular, we recently conducted an interview with Mrs. Brown.

Q:How long have you been teaching?

A:I think it’s been 13 years, but that may not be 100% correct—I’ve never been the type of person who remembers that kind of stuff easily. 

Q: Where did you attend college?

A:The University of Georgia.  I have my undergraduate degree in Animal Science, and then I decided I wanted to become a teacher so I went back and got my master’s in Agricultural Leadership, which included a teaching certificate. 

Q: What made you want to teach agriculture?

A: I never wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up.  I honestly picked my college major just by looking a list of available options and just choosing which sounded cool.  I ended up loving it, but didn’t want to go into research because I was bored with that.  I also didn’t want to have to move away from home for a job, so I came home and got a job tutoring kids just a way to earn money and I ended up loving it.  That’s what made me look for a job teaching, and that’s when I went back to school to get my teaching certificate.  I think God has a plan for everyone’s life, and I can’t really explain how it happened other than just by saying that it all worked out and I love where I am now!

Q: What’s the purpose of agriculture class and what can others learn from it? 

A: The purpose is to prepare high school students for life after high school- whatever that may involve.  If students are pursuing a career in agriculture, this class will prepare them for that by teaching them about plants and animals and giving them hands-on learning experiences.  If they are NOT pursuing a career in agriculture, this class is still a huge help for them because we provide leadership experience that is valuable for any person as they move into any career.  That’s why I love agricultural education—it’s like a life class!

Q: Why do you think many students look forward to being in your class? 

A: I think they look forward to it because it feels like home, if that makes sense.  Or at least I hope that’s how they feel.  The kids in this class all have a common interest, and they sometimes have this class together year after year as well as going through FFA events and activities together.  They’re supportive of each other and they mostly understand that we work hard but we also play hard.  I think they enjoy the opportunity to have a class that shows them things that are real.  They don’t just learn concepts, but they get to apply them in real life.  I “turn over the reins” and let them lead—and that may be the first time they’ve had that freedom.  It’s uncomfortable and makes them nervous at first, but it leads to a bond that is pretty unique!

Q: How do you teach students to groom for Grooming in the Grove? 

A: When kids sign up to be in grooming, they all have to go through a training process.  We do this work in advisory, and it starts with me bringing in my own dogs and letting them learn skills and practice with my dogs.  Then we have community partners who come in and teach animal handling.  I have several faculty members who will volunteer their own dogs to be used for practice, and we do a couple weeks of practice with these dogs before they are ready to actually bathe and groom community dogs. 

Q: How did Grooming in the Grove become an idea?  

A: A few years ago I had some students who were really interested in veterinary science as a career field, but we did not have anything here to offer them experience in that field.  They suggested cleaning out the back room in my classroom— because it used to be used for storage—and making it into a usable room for dog grooming.  I told them that if they could figure out how to make it work, I would support them and make it happen.  They made a plan, and explained to me how it would work, and so we did it and it’s been awesome ever since!

Q: How have you made Grooming in the Grove a big impact here? 

A: I don’t think I had much to do with it—I really believe that when you’re where God wants you, He’ll take care of the rest.  We’ve done the background work to provide this opportunity, and I have really great students that work extremely hard.  The impact has been because of the hard work of the students.  Each year their hard work leads to more growth in the program, and more opportunities for learning for future students.  I think it’s important to provide real life experiences for students, and the students have done their part to keep that going!

A: What other things are going on in your class?

There’s an advisory group that is housed in Mrs. Holsenbeck’s classroom.  It’s called “Garden @ The Grove.”  We also have a woodworking group that meets in Mr. O’Neal’s room and they’re called “The Shabbies.” We’re working on opening a new aquaponics room and that’s really going well too!  My goal is to have as many hands-on opportunities as possible—because that’s what makes learning fun.