The Vision of an Educator
by Sarah Kaper – Director, Earth Partners
If it’s been awhile since you were in school, the classrooms of 2018 look a little different than they once did. Today’s modern classroom has dynamic space with desks, books and storage for each student. Teachers and students have access to several forms of technology. There are ways to track a student’s growth and ways to communicate that growth with families, but does it have room for real world experiences?
My name is Sarah Kaper, and I am the new Director of Earth Partners. I grew up in rural northeastern Indiana. I met my husband at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. In 1991, we moved to Iroquois County where I taught, and we had our 4 children. I “retired” from teaching to stay home with my children. Then, in 2007, we had the opportunity to move to Mahomet where my husband started his own business, and I began teaching in the Mahomet-Seymour School District. I recently left the classroom to work with the CCFB Foundation and look forward to bringing agriculture to the students and teachers of Champaign County.
Looking at our world through the eyes of an educator, I see apples and pumpkins in the fall and wonder how much the students know about the life cycle of an apple or a pumpkin. During fall harvest I wonder if students know how our economy is impacted by corn and beans. While students are shopping, preparing, and consuming meals with their families, do they know where their meat and dairy comes from? In the spring, have the students ever experienced the joy of seeing new life hatch from eggs?
Ag in the Classroom can bring those experiences right to the classrooms of Champaign County. Bringing agricultural education to students of all ages is the goal of the CCFB Foundation’s Earth Partners program. With a wealth of physical resources (teaching kits that can be checked out prepared with lessons ready to teach), professional presenters (educators who are trained to teach or advise lessons), and volunteer resources (farmers, teen teachers, and other experienced members from the community who are ready to help bring the real world to the classroom) there is a great potential to reach many classrooms.
There is still work to do to teach relevant and ever-changing agricultural content, reach all types of learners, and equip classrooms with real resources. I look forward to working with the teachers of Champaign County to bring agriculture into their classrooms.
Sarah Kaper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.