Teaching at a Small School

While growing up on a farm between Colfax and Pullman, Wash., Nathan Moore decided on his future in agriculture early on in life. And becoming a Cougar? Well, that was a no-brainer.

“My parents were both Cougs and took me to all the football and basketball games,” Moore said. “I was always a Coug and had to go to Washington State.”

The 1995 Washington State University alum teaches in Colton, Wash., a rural K-12 school, with 65 high school students.

Throughout his childhood, Moore worked on his family farm, raised animals through FFA, and took agriculture classes from a former Coug.

While attending WSU, Moore enjoyed Jim Durfey’s Ag. Mechanics class. “He was a lot of fun and brought new energy into the program,” Moore said.

Throughout college, Moore never imagined he would enjoy teaching and learning about horticulture as much as he does now. “My wife peaked my interest in it and now one of my favorite parts about teaching is helping students grow and then sell the plants.” Moore’s wife, Jessica, currently teaches agriculture at Pullman High School.

Much like his own background, Moore’s students come from a long history of farming and are very interested in agriculture as a career. “Many of my students will go to college and then come back and work on the family farm,” Moore said, “but they are also taking interest in nursing and diesel mechanics.”

Serving as the FFA advisor to about 40 students, Moore said about half of the members exhibit livestock at the Palouse Empire Fair and Spokane Junior Livestock show each year.

“We spend lots of time on leadership events, public speaking, and ritual,” Moore said. “I try to make FFA kid-driven, so if they want to learn about livestock judging, then that’s what we do.”

Following graduation, Moore’s students should be over-prepared to speak in front of an audience. “One of my goals is to enhance their public speaking skills and we spend lots of time on that—from talking about current events to giving formal speeches,” he said.

A greenhouse was recently built at Colton and will show Moore’s students another aspect of agriculture. “That addition is really exciting. My students are used to seeing wheat, barley and beans being grown but now they can see flowers. This allows them to learn how to totally control an environment instead of waiting for rainfall to see if you have a good or bad crop.”

Even though Moore has always loved working with agriculture, the best part of his job is his students. “For me, teaching is all about the kids. I am fortunate to work at a small school and really get to know and have fun with my students,” he said.

By Brianna Brue, Marketing and News Services Intern