Through an odd series of events, I actually utilized my degree in Animal Science last school year and served as the agriculture instructor and FFA Advisor at a local school after years of teaching English. Through an equally odd series of events, I will not be in that position this year.

There’s much that I learned from that time: welding, the exact drive time to Lamar, Colorado, and how to measure a student for a corduroy jacket. However the more important lesson that I came away with is simple. If you are a parent don’t criticize your child’s teachers at the dinner table. (And if you’re not eating together at the dinner table, clear off the bills and semen catalogs and sit together to eat!)

When nearly any topic comes up for discussion in class, most kids are little parrots, repeating what they’ve heard their parents say whether it’s politics, the rain forecast or cattle selection. Your kids are listening to you. If you’re criticizing teachers, schools and administrations in front of them, they’re taking it to heart. You’re unwittingly granting permission to your child to be disrespectful and to not take advantage of great opportunities that teachers offer kids.

It would take a whole lotta bloggin’ to tell you everything I learned but if I can offer one piece of knowledge to make your next school year better, that was it. Now, go eat dinner, it’s getting cold!