Moffat County agriculture instructor Brett Miller brings barnyard learning to classroom
When it was time to choose students to spotlight, Moffat County High School Agricultural Education Instructor Brett Miller said, “these three students have done some amazing things outside of academics and sports that should be recognized.”
Miller said about each student:
Bryson Davis: “Bryson is an outstanding ag student. He is a senior this year and will receive his State FFA degree this summer. He is one of two members from Moffat County who will be receiving their state degree this year. Bryson is also the 2019 state winner with his goat production proficiency. He will be recognized on stage at the State FFA Convention in June.
Zachary Patterson: Zach is also a senior this year and will receive his State FFA degree this summer at State FFA Convention. He is one of two members from Moffat County who will be receiving their state degree this year.
Tauren Farquharson: Tauren is a junior this year and has been highly involved in FFA. She is the Moffat County FFA chapter president this year and the 2019-2020 Colorado FFA District 1 treasurer. Both of these are great accomplishments for Tauren.
What is your favorite subject and why?
Davis: My favorite subjects in school are science or ag classes. I enjoy science, like biology and anatomy, because not only am I good at it but I find it very interesting. I like ag classes because it teaches me real-life values. Whether it’s vet science, ag business, or wildlife management, I always find new tools to put in my real life tool belt. I also like CDE (Colorado Department of Education) competitions and the experience of State FFA Convention.
Patterson: My favorite subject would have to be welding because I get to learn new things and also help others progress in a new form of education that can be difficult for someone to master this set of skills.
Farquharson: My favorite subject would be my agriculture welding class. I enjoy welding because of the intensity of skills needed and the attention to detail. Being the only girl, it also helps me grow my confidence because of the judgmental looks I get.
What do you like the most about your school?
Davis: The thing I like the most about my school is all the people. Some of these include teachers, advisers, friends, and everyone in between. There’s always someone willing to give me a hand.
Patterson: The thing I like the most about my school is the opportunities that help to further a student’s agriculture education. They teach us woodworking, metalworking, construction, animal science, agricultural business and many more classes to help further one’s education.
Farquharson: The thing I like most about my school would be our agriculture program and their involvement within our community. I love being able to say that our FFA chapter was the one to provide that lunch or help with community service.
Describe the interests and activities you enjoy outside of school.
Davis: I am involved in a lot of extracurricular activities like working at the Boys and Girls Club, Key Club, Link Crew, Youth Summit, football, FFA, 4-H, Rotary Club, Youth United Way, Young Life, and Keystone. I attend the First Baptist Church, and I am highly involved in the school weightlifting program.
Petterson: Outside of school I enjoy working because it gives me the opportunity to help others. I work at NAPA Auto Parts as a counter sales employee. The part I enjoy most about my job is helping people solve their problems. I also enjoy providing customers with the correct information to get their car back up and on the road.
Farquharson: Outside of school I enjoy many different aspects of life. I have a part-time job at my local ranch and home supply store. I love spending time with my friends and family while enjoying the great outdoors.
Brett Miller, Moffat County High School agriculture education teacher, has spent his first year teaching in Craig and has already had a cow or two in the classroom.
While not an everyday occurrence, Miller insists that one of the most effective learning tools is a hands-on experience, so students are encouraged to handle the animals they study.
Miller spent one year of student-teaching in Casper, Wyoming, and when a position opened up in the agriculture department of MCHS, he felt he would be right at home.
“I chose Moffat County because it is close to where I grew up with a similar feel. I also chose Moffat County because of the strength of the agriculture education program, and I figured it would be a great place to start and grow as a new teacher,” Miller said.
Craig Press: What were you like as a student?
Brett Miller: Through high school, I was an A student. I was involved in almost every organization my high school offered: NHS, FFA, FCCLA, ProStart, student council, congressional award, varsity basketball. High school seemed pretty easy to me and I enjoyed being involved in the social aspect but valued the education side immensely.
How has your education, training, and work experiences qualified you for your role?
I attended the University of Wyoming and received a degree in agricultural education so I feel like that alone has prepared me for my role. I also grew up in production agriculture where I was able to gain hands-on experience with the industry, and that too has helped grow me as an ag instructor.
What do you do if your students don’t “get it?”
If my students don’t “get it” I try a new method of teaching the same content. If a standard in class approach does not work I try within reason to get hands-on/industry experience for the students.
If a visitor came to your classroom or office and took a photo, what would they see in that photo?
A visitor would see students hard at work in groups or individually. They would most likely be working on something project based related to the content. A visitor would see a minimal amount of teacher-led instruction, as I believe hands-on, project-based learning is the most effective in my content area.
How do you measure your success as an educator?
I measure my success by the opportunities I am able to give the students. If students can leave my program with some practical experience in the world of agriculture with some knowledge to back it up, I feel like those students will be highly successful in the world we live.
How are you involved in the community outside school?
This year has been a challenge to get involved with a lot of things in the community mainly because I am a new teacher. The other barrier is that I live in Baggs, Wyoming and make the trip to Craig every day. I officiate basketball in the winter and help with county fair in the summer. I hope to get out and visit student SAEs (supervised agricultural experience) this summer to get more involved with the students and community.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I have really enjoyed my time in Craig and look forward to what we can build here in the agriculture education department.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
American Red Cross of Western Colorado will be training Moffat County volunteers on disaster cycle services, psychological first aid, and more during sessions Saturday, Aug. 24, according to a news release from the organization.