WHEN THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC disrupted supply chains early this year, consumers got a crash-course on where their food comes from. Suddenly, local farms found themselves in the spotlight as farmers and ranchers began offering their products for sale to the general public. Ag teachers throughout the nation have been trying to drive this lesson home to students for decades.
Every year, the Polk County Farm Bureau names an Ag Teacher of the Year and an Ag Program of the Year to celebrate the educators working hard to plant the seeds of agricultural respect in young minds.
Tabitha Kramer of McLaughlin Middle Fine Arts Academy in Lake Wales won the distinction of being named 2020’s Ag Teacher of the Year. Kramer, who has been teaching for five years, received her master’s degree in educational leadership from Florida Southern College in Lakeland and her bachelor’s degree in agricultural studies from Warner University. Growing up, she participated in 4-H and FFA in Fort Meade, so she learned early on how much our daily lives depend on agriculture.
“I definitely learned organizational skills and leadership skills,” Kramer recalls of the lessons learned in her youth. During her time at Warner, she interned with her father at Sunshine Growers Nursery in Fort Meade. He encouraged her to broaden her agricultural horizons and delve into as many topics as possible, inspiring Kramer to ultimately become a teacher.
Kramer loves seeing the “ah-ha” moment when something clicks in a student’s mind. In her class, she encourages problem-solving and teamwork.
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