Even though she graduated from Washington State University in 1995, only this year did Jessica Moore take charge of her own classroom.
The Pullman High School agriculture education teacher worked for six years as a substitute teacher across Eastern Washington. Along with caring for her two sons, Moore also occasionally taught in her husband’s classroom. (See related story on Nathan Moore of Colton High School.)
Growing up in Federal Way, Wash., Jessica was a city kid for most of the year, except when she spent the summers back on the North Dakota farms her parents grew up on.
During high school, Moore became more interested in agriculture through horticulture classes. “I liked the different aspects of horticulture and how it related to other things. For instance, we ran our floral design class like a business and even sold prom flowers,” she said.
Moore chose WSU after weighing the options between a two- or four-year degree. “There were only two places to study horticulture—a community college and WSU. I thought I may want to teach agriculture and knew a four-year degree would take me further,” she said.
While at WSU, Moore made many lasting friendships and enjoyed getting to know her professors well. “That’s the bonus of a small town atmosphere,” she said.
Moore said the amount of control was a major difference between learning to become a teacher and actually teaching. “Our teaching classes were very controlled, but when you are out on your own, it is very uncontrolled.”
Although her first year as a full-time teacher is just getting underway, Moore already notices a difference between being a substitute and always being in charge. “I’m not just a babysitter anymore; I actually get to know my students.”
Moore is still trying to get accustomed to the extra time spent grading students’ work. “As a sub, I didn’t have to worry about grades, so that is something I am learning,” she said.
Her students—who come from both urban and rural areas—recently wrote career papers and showed an interest in many areas of agriculture.
“Some of my students want to go back and farm while others want to get a college degree. I have a few wanting to go into the floral design business or become fruit growers. Many seem to like where golf course management can take you. They are really all over the place on what they think they might do,” Moore said.
Moore’s goal for her first year in charge of the classroom is to get more students interested in agriculture. “For myself, and many other people I have talked to in ag careers, interest began in high school. I want to encourage my students that it is a good path to follow.”
By Brianna Brue, Marketing, News, and Educational Communications Intern