Lead Ag Teacher Sue Pratt with AgCommunicators’ Belinda Cay.
Agriculture teachers across South Australia will have access to curriculum, industry networks and support following the introduction of the SA Lead Ag Teacher.
In this new role funded by the South Australian Grain Industry Trust, experienced agriculture teacher Sue Pratt will work closely with teachers and schools on an individualised basis.
“While many schools are looking to expand food and fibre programs, a serious shortage of qualified and experienced ag teachers is complicating the process,” Sue said.
“Agriculture is well represented in the Australian curriculum but we know many schools struggle to find the teaching staff needed to deliver a rigorous, relevant and practical program. In this role, I can support teachers with assessment and curriculum structure, review what they are doing now and put plans in place to strengthen their programs and their links with industry.
“There are so many great opportunities for students to pursue interesting and innovative careers in agriculture and schools are the key to opening their eyes to the possibilities.”
Sue will work with schools on-site, a deliberate strategy to support regional teachers who can find travelling to access expertise and professional development a barrier to progress.
Since commencing in the role in October, she has visited schools on Yorke Peninsula and Eyre Peninsula.
“It is really helpful to visit a site and get a feel for the resources they already have and the community that they are working with,” she said.
“We have some amazing programs happening across SA and it is great to be able to share ideas and successful strategies throughout the network.”
SAGIT chair Max Young said SAGIT saw the value in the role not only in supporting teachers, but in delivering graduates back into the industry in the longer term.
“We all know about the challenges of filling the numerous roles available in the agricultural industry, so to be able to support teachers and for them to educate students on agriculture careers is essential,” he said.
“Sue is a great fit for this role. She has years of teaching experience in the Mid North of SA, with curriculum writing experience at both middle school and senior school level.”
Sue can connect teachers with mentors within the Agriculture Teachers Association of SA and industry experts who can bring the curriculum alive with their experience. Sue can also direct teachers to existing resources and is continually creating new content to integrate innovative and up-to-date ideas into classroom activities.
“Ag teachers are really busy people as they are juggling a demanding teaching role with managing a school farm and busy practical programs like show competitions,” Sue said.
“If I can help them make connections and reduce the time they spend chasing resources, they can concentrate on delivering great programs to their students that will benefit everyone in the sector.”
For interviews, please contact Bridget Penna, AgCommunicators, 0429 676 413