Mountain Crest High School Teacher of the Year, Megan Haslam: Engaging students through hands-on agricultural experiences
Agricultural science teacher, Megan Haslam, believes that many students are far enough removed from the farm that they don’t have many chances to have hands-on agricultural experiences at home. For this reason, she strives to help her students have opportunities to develop skills that will help them be successful in life. Her efforts to engage students in agricultural experiences have made an impact—so much so, that she has been named Mountain Crest High School's Teacher of the Year.
Mountain Crest offers a variety of ag science courses. Haslam teaches animal science, floral design, and greenhouse management. She enjoys her students' excitement as they learn about where their food comes from and as they express their pride in knowing their plants are growing. Through these hands-on lessons, she has seen her students make real-world connections that they will carry forward beyond high school.
In addition to tending a greenhouse, Haslam’s students also learn how to be good consumers who are financially savvy. She hopes the lessons they learn will impact them in their future lives and careers. For example, in her floral design class, students finish the class with enough knowledge to start their own floral design business if they desire. “A lot of these skills are life skills that you can use, but also I love that they can build something and see the effect of what they built.”
At Mountain Crest, Haslam is also a Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor. FFA is a club that teaches students valuable leadership skills through agriculture. Students have a range of categories they can compete in, from raising animals to agriculture communications. The community provides essential support to students in FFA. For instance, Mountain Crest has partnered with local community members to raise dairy heifers on their property. If a student wants to learn how to raise a calf but doesn’t have the space or money to get started, several community members allow students to keep heifers on their property. They also help educate the students on how to raise and care for the animals.
FFA Students also participate in public speaking, such as Prepared Public Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, and Parliamentary Procedures. Students research current events in agriculture, develop talking points and counterpoints, as well as learn to run an effective public meeting.
The variety and real-world experiences her students get from FFA and ag classes are two of the reasons Haslam loves her job. “It doesn’t matter what category they are in,” Haslam explained. “We are trying to teach them to think critically and judge things and defend themselves about it and communicate why this matters.”
Haslam’s goal is to make sure that her students know how much she cares for them. She also values teaching her students life lessons that will help them be successful after high school. Mountain Crest principal Teri Cutler believes that Haslam is an excellent example of what a teacher should be. “She is always going the extra mile for students, from educational aspects to competition aspects to mentoring students on how to be strong individuals—Megan always strives to do what is best for her students,” Cutler observed. “All ag teachers across the state look to her as an example."
Megan Haslam (with assistant principal Bardett Bagley and board member Larry
Jeppesen) was honored at the April 21, 2022 board meeting.