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Question for the Profession: Are you the limiting your students’ success?

By Nina Crutchfield, Local Program Success Specialist, National FFA Organization

We all bust our tails every day to give our students opportunities. So how can I ask the question, “Are you limiting your students’ success?” By now you know I ask the hard questions.

Think about all the forms you had students fill out last year. How many were degree applications? Proficiency applications? Scholarship applications? How many were SAE grant applications? Did the chapter officers submit a national chapter award application?

I can just hear the grumbling going on in your head as you read this. Your inner voice is saying things like, “If I had kids fill all those things out, then that’s all we’d be doing.” Or perhaps it’s saying, “My kids don’t have anything good enough to fill out those apps for.” Or maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to learn how to fill all those things out. If a kid wants to do it, I won’t stop them but I’m not going to help them.”

If this inner dialogue is going on in your head then the answer to my initial question is “Yes, you are limiting your students’ success.”

Applications are a way of life. Our students are going to leave the comfort and safety of high school soon, and they will be filling out applications every time they apply for a job, get a mortgage, buy a car, get married. As Randy Plattner, our Perspectives contributor to this edition of FFA Pulse - Making a Difference , points out: Whether the application is for a leadership position, a scholarship, a degree or a proficiency award, the application is an important tool students use to communicate their personal story. A story they will fine tune as they go through life.

If we don’t provide them with the experience of completing applications now, how will they ever be able to use them effectively to get jobs and advance their careers? If we don’t give them meaningful venues to practice the skills, we are limiting their success beyond our classroom doors. Read this issue of Making a Difference for tips, ideas and resources for completing FFA applications. After all, using FFA as the model and motivation for performing real-world skills is what we do.

For those who didn’t experience those inner dialogues, you have strategies and techniques to share! Help everyone improve their desire and skill at managing the application processes. Help those struggling to embrace the application process as a tool to evaluate student performance and an opportunity to reward student engagement in their learning processes. Share your tips for facilitating student completion of FFA applications in the NAAE Communities of Practice .