Have you ever had a student say “Why are we learning this? I will never use this.” Or have you as a teacher just wanted to spice up your everyday lesson plans and have someone else come in and explain/show how this topic can be used on a day to day basis? There is a solution for you! A Farmer!  Here are just 8 simple ways a farmer can come in and make a topic come to life!

#1 Color

Have every Friday be a different color theme. For example one Friday have your color be Green and have a farmer come in as a special guest and tell the class about all the types of green things that are on their farm!

#2 Fractions

Invite a farmer to come in and do a math lesson about fractions with your students. Ask the farmer to explain why he uses fractions on his farm and how it helps them to determine how much each field makes.

#3 Animals

In a science unit talking about animals invite a farmer to come in and tell the class about the animals they have on the farm and what they are used for. Maybe even ask the farmer if he can bring a small animal into your classroom or see if your class can visit the farm and see the animals live in action!

#4 Transportation

Doing a Unit about different types of transportation? Have a farmer come in and talk about all the types of equipment they have on the farm like lawn mowers, combines, tractors, etc. and what they are used for. If your area is accessible maybe invite a farmer to bring a piece of equipment to the school and take a mini field trip outside so students can physically see what it is!

#5 Food

Invite a gardener to come into your classroom and talk about the types of fruits/vegetables he or she grows in their garden. Have the gardener explain what they grow and why they grow it. Also have the gardener explain to students why fruits and vegetables are very healthy for them to eat!

#6 Weather

Ask a grain farmer to come into your classroom and talk about how weather effects the outcome of what they grow. For example: without rain corn cannot grow and without corn some foods that we eat, like corn flakes, cannot be made.

#7 Reading

In your designated reading time of the day have a farmer come in and explain to your class how they have to read newspaper, magazines, and articles practically daily to learn about new inventions being created, trends in their business, and rules they need to follow.

#8 Pilgrims and Indians

When discussing pilgrims and Indians in your history lesson ask a farmer to come in and talk about how the ways of creating food have drastically changed over time and the technology they use to help them now. Ask the farmer if they can possibly bring in a piece of technology and show the class how it works!

abby jacobsAbby Jacobs
Joliet Junior College Student


Farm jobs and office jobs are almost polar opposites.  Non-ag folks cringe at the thought of working outside every day, while I know many farmers who couldn’t imagine waking up, commuting into town, and sitting at a desk for 8 hours.  While there are some similarities between farm jobs and office jobs, there are also some big differences.  Here are some of the top differences I found between office jobs and farm jobs.

 1. Having a boss vs. being your own boss 

We’ve all had to put in our time under a boss we didn’t get along with—if you haven’t, count your blessings!  Having a strict, mean, rude boss can make going to work something you dread.  Farmers have the luxury of being their own boss.  They are the ones making the vital decisions about their job. There’s no one else to answer to, no hoops to jump through as they try to climb up the corporate ladder.

 2. Learning company history vs. knowing your family history 

Learning about the company’s history is one of the tips I’ve heard over and over from professors.  You have to do some research and know your stuff before going in for an interview or the first day on a job.  For many farmers, this is a no brainer! Knowing the history of their job is as easy as knowing their family tree.  Family farmers have worked alongside their family for generations—the history of their job is in the fields they farm and the barns they work in.

3. Working weekdays, 9-5 vs. working every day, all hours

Office jobs have set hours that some people crave—there’s a time you come in, a time you eat lunch, and a time you pack up and go home. For farmers, this is very different.  A farmer’s day begins as the sun rises and ends when the daylight ends—sometimes later if there is still work to be done.  And farmers don’t take two days off for the weekend or countdown the days until a holiday closes the office.  Farmers work every day, long past the normal 8-hour workday.

 4. Creating something on a computer vs. creating something with your own hands 

Perhaps the most rewarding thing about being a farmer is bringing life to another being, whether it is a plant or an animal.  There is nothing quite like seeing a newborn calf after you help bring it into the world.  Or seeing the crops that you tended to for all those hours growing tall and healthy in your field.  It’s a feeling you just can’t get in an office cubicle.

Office jobs are great for some people, and not so great for others—to each his own, as the saying goes.  Our world can’t have one without the other; there are even many times when agriculture and office jobs go hand in hand.  Farming is a job unlike any other—a job where nothing is for sure, where often times you put in much more than you are likely to get out—but it’s job that I can’t imagine living without.

sydney laySydney Lay
Southern Illinois University student