Ms. Frank, Nampa FFA Adviser
Who inspires me? Who or what has had an impact on my life in such a way that it has helped make me who I am and directed the things I do? The usual answers come to mind first, my grandparents, my parents and my best friend. My grandparents gave me the early direction and passion for working with kids, my parents taught me the value of hard work, faith, grace and to keep trying and my best friend continues to challenge me in countless ways. I strive every day to make them all proud of me and to live up to the belief they have in me. My only goal for my life is to make a change in my corner of the world, no matter how big or small or where it is. All those people are my solid foundation and somedays are the only thing that keeps me trying. But good foundations lead to beautiful buildings and my walls are my students. They inspire me every day to be better just by being who they are.
Today, on the first day of the new school year, I stood before every class and made the same promise. I have done this every year for 6 years on the first two days of school in front of every class. It is really a very simple promise; I promise that whatever you think of agriculture today it will be different when you leave my class at the end of the year. I don’t give specifics or say it will be a good or bad change, just that it will be different. Today, for some unknown reason, that promise really hit me. I mean the promise deeply and completely and sincerely, but today it just seemed more real. After 5 years of teaching, I am starting to see the impact I can have. But I am coming to notice that my corner of the world that I am trying to change is starting to change me.
What or who inspires me? My students. Every day in a million little ways. I have had the privilege of watching the most quiet and shy of students perhaps with a stutter, take on the world and stand in front of different audiences and share their passions. I have quietly smiled while I overhear a particularly difficult student tell a friend they are glad they took my class or explain to a friend, not in my class, the difference between beef cows and dairy cows and that there are hundreds of breeds of sheep. The way that eyes light up when they see bean seeds sprouting or get a fertilizer math problem correct is a miracle that never gets old. Hearing a team, you have coached from ground zero, called as the Idaho State FFA representative at Nationals is a tear inducing high and standing on stage and hearing someone else’s name in that position is painful. There are a million stories and so many tears, laughs and hugs to go with every one of those stories.
Why do they inspire me? As each year passes and the number of stories grow, I am inspired every day to do better! I tell my students that we learn so much more from failure than success and I know that is true. I make a lot of mistakes and I have had my heart broken by students that chose difficult paths, but even those times have inspired me to have hope. There is always another class, another student to impact and another story to learn and tell. I have told my students that I just need to learn to stop getting attached and keep things light and simple with them. They laugh at me and tell me that will never happen, it just wouldn’t be me. They are probably right and because of that I have to do better.
Here is to every student who has made me laugh, smile, cry, scream, lose sleep or my patience. Because of every one of you, I come to work every morning wondering what is next. I can’t wait to see what trouble, fun, failures and successes we fall into. I only hope along the way I impact you in some small way and we continue to build beautiful buildings.