By Julie Tomascik
College students pursuing a degree in ag education can apply for scholarships from Texas Farm Bureau (TFB).
The state’s largest farm and ranch organization created the Student Teaching Award last year. It provides scholarships valued at $2,500 to four senior agricultural education students during the spring semester of off-campus student teaching.
“The semester of student teaching is an invaluable experience,” Mia Balko, TFB director of Youth Activities, said. “During that student teaching time off-campus, those future agricultural science teachers are able to be in the classroom full time. They work alongside experienced ag teachers, learning how a classroom operates.”
During the student teaching experience, the college senior is not able to have a job and is not always placed at a school district in close proximity to their home or their university.
“As a student teacher, there’s not typically time to have another job, because they are in the classroom all day. Many of these student teachers also have to travel long distances,” Balko said. “TFB’s scholarship aims to help lift some of the financial burden on students who are preparing for careers in agricultural education.”
There are currently more than 2,000 full-time agricultural science teachers in Texas and about 1,100 active FFA chapters. There are about 10 new FFA chapters chartered each year, leading to more teaching positions opening across the state.
“Agricultural science teachers are in demand right now, and Texas Farm Bureau is helping students prepare to fill those roles,” Balko said. “As agricultural science teachers, they will highlight agriculture in the classroom and, oftentimes, through community activities.”
Balko noted Farm Bureau has many resources available to teachers—both agricultural and non-agricultural teachers—to use in the classroom.
“Being an agricultural science teacher isn’t a 9-5 job,” Balko said. “They work long hours and travel many miles to contests, livestock shows and other events to provide leadership and learning experiences for their students.”
The application is available online at my.texasfarmbureau.org.
Applications must be submitted on or before midnight Nov. 1.
The scholarship application includes a written essay and a recommendation form from a college or university supervisor.
The student must be part of a TFB member-family to qualify, and that membership must be maintained for the duration of the scholarship.
More information and eligibility requirements are available online at www.texasfarmbureau.org/youth/youth-opportunities.
Scholarship winners will be announced in January.
Four scholarships will also be awarded in the fall of 2020 to seniors majoring in ag education and going into their student teaching semester. Details on those scholarships will be released next year.