Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why XLR8? (Perspective by J. Wilson)

There's just over a month (Due 9/1) to get your applications in for the National Association of Agricultural Educators XLR8 Program designed for educators in their 7th through 15th year of teaching.

Our past NJAAE President, Jennifeur Wilson, shares her personal perspective on why it is a beneficial professional development experience.

I still feel participating in XLR8 has been the best decision I have made. I gained a perspective shaped from experiences that challenged me to my core and afforded opportunities for growth like none other. Coming up through FFA and feeling internal direction to teach, Agricultural Education was a natural choice. Seemingly impossible at first, I soon found my self in a supportive community among the like minded and the kind hearted much like I experienced in FFA. And much like FFA, the opportunities to receive State and National recognition for developing as a professional were endless. The door swung wide and I indulged. It was close to my seventh year in my career that I earned the opportunity to fly to Las Vegas during the school year for XLR8 training, and along side some of the best teachers in our country face the cold hard truth that I  put my career before every other aspect of my life. I didn't accept it at first. I was recognized by my district as teacher of the year and revisited the reality that I was the hardest working teacher in the school. I knew I had to do something, and began taking baby steps toward getting my life back. In the process, I lost the relationship I was in and nearly 70 of the 80 pounds I had gained. I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't initially failed, experienced success and fought to get it all back. XLR8 was a wake up call.