Goshen teacher becomes agriscience ambassador
Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Keith Hocutt was selected to attend the 12th annual DuPont National AgriScience Teachers Ambassador Academy in Chesapeake Farms in Chestertown, Maryland.
Hocutt is a teacher at Pike Agriscience and Technical Career Academy located at Goshen High School. He was one of only 49 educators across the nation selected for the program. The academy focused on state-of-the-art teaching concepts with a majority of their training time in hands-on activities on a 3,300 acre working farms.
“It was intense training focusing on the inquiry method of teaching,” Hocutt said. “It involves presenting challenging questions and give them a situation and have them figure it out.”
Hocutt began teaching at the Ag Academy last year and teaches horticulture science, plant biotechnology, animal science and animal biotechnology among other classes. The academy educates Pike County 11th and 12th graders to prepare them for careers in the agriculture field.
“When students come in to the program, I ask them what comes to mind when they think of agriculture,” Hocutt said. “The answer is farming. I want to get the box bigger, and for them to think beyond farming. Agriculture can be in journalism, computers and banking. Twenty percent of all occupations in the United States are related to agriculture.”
Activities at the seminar that Hocutt completed ranged from learning about fishing communities by fishing for goldfish crackers with chopsticks, to tracking how diseases are transferred from contact with infected animals by distributing water containing dye-sensitive chemicals around a group to see how fast the proposed disease would spread.
He said that he is already planning how to use these and other activities in the classroom.
“When class rolled around, I was much more excited to start,” Hocutt said.
Hocutt has big plans for this academic year, including having a teaching session at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. in October and at the National Association of Agriculture Education Convention in Nashville, Tenn. in November.
Pushing his students to their greatest potential is one of Hocutt’s main goals. He said he wants his students to have a “don’t settle” attitude about build their confidence.
“When the light bulb moment happens for a student, it’s exciting to me,” Hocutt said. “You’ll see me in the middle of a class yell ‘yes!’ Students need to see us getting excited, rejoice when they do something well and let them know that we care about them.”