By Nina Crutchfield
Is your POA really a POS?
Now that I have your attention… Yes, POS really is the acronym you think it is.
For 14 years, after completing the Program of Activities report to submit to our state staff, I would consider the last question on the form, “Is this POA window dressing? Yes or No.” Every year I contemplated checking “Yes” just to see if anyone read the darned thing. I would wonder if anyone actually checked Yes, being truthful rather than mischievous.
The question should have been “Is your POA really a POS? Yes or No.” Of course, we can only really provide that honest evaluation after the year is over, but I suspect we have a pretty good feel for it when we hit the submit button in the fall.
I propose the following criteria for making that judgment call:
- Who created the activities for the POA? The advisor or FFA members?
- Who created the committees for conducting the activities? The advisor or FFA members?
- Who determines the budget for said activities? The advisor or FFA members?
- Who creates the goals and evaluation process for said activities? The advisor or FFA members?
- Who carries out the majority of efforts to conduct said activities? The advisor or FFA members?
- Who completes all necessary chapter recognition forms for the POA? The advisor or FFA members?
If you answer FFA advisor for any of those questions, you can bet your POA is really a POS. It does nothing to teach students leadership or provide an experiential-learning environment. All that type of POA does is serve a teacher’s own purpose to maintain complete control and feed a personal sense of accomplishment. As you read the articles in this edition of Making a Difference magazine, you won’t find a single advisor that says the key to a successful POA is making the decisions themselves. Not one of them will tell you the secret is to limit member participation or ideas. You will see where they share tips for creating a successful chapter, how to engage all members, and how to use student engagement to promote the overall program.
If you have some tips and strategies for creating a meaningful POA rather than a POS, please add to the discussion for everyone’s benefit in NAAE’s Communities of Practice. The only way we all can become better at facilitating learning is if we can share our ideas for improvement.