by Gloria Welton
“There are many jobs in agriculture related to the farm but it is surprising how many other jobs there are as well,” says Suba Aiyer, a teacher at Colonel Gray High school. She teaches math and four agriculture-related subjects including agri science, animal science, oceanography, and environmental science.
Suba grew up on a farm in India. “My family grew rice, sugar cane, peanuts, and vegetables, and we also had some cows. Life on the farm holds my best memories. When we moved to PEI and I got the chance to teach agri science, I was thrilled.”
Her career path started by teaching math and sciences. When she was asked to teach agri science at Colonel Gray, which at that time was the only course at the school related to agriculture, she was happy to take on the subject.
“As the students’ interest grew, the school introduced other agriculture-related subjects to the curriculum, and I love teaching them all.” Suba says she is glad more students at her school are seeing agriculture as a solid career path.
“We are seeing more and more interest from the students, thanks to the PEI Agriculture Sector Council and genAG, a unique career exploration program that inspires high school students to consider pursuing careers in agriculture and food.”
Most students at Colonel Gray are city based and don’t have a lot of opportunities to be on the farm or to be exposed to this sector. When the genAG program started at the school three years ago, students began to learn more about the various careers in agriculture.
“Not only do they learn about career choices and pathways, but this program helps promote agriculture jobs to their peers in other classes through class projects. Last year, genAG students helped organize a farm day right here at the school.
“We had pigs, chickens, ducks, and a calf, and all 1,000 students from the school were invited to attend and many did.
“Students loved being around the animals, and in fact it was the first time for some students to get close to the animals, hold them, feed them and care for them. They learned so much.”
The agriculture related courses offer hands-on experiences such as field trips and guest lecturers in the classroom.
“We also grow plants such as herbs, vegetables and flowers in our greenhouse. At the end of the project they take the plants home, and some have started gardens at home.”
Suba says genAG and the agriculture-related subjects at the school helps students become better informed about career choices in agriculture.
“I strongly feel we have to keep teaching students more about the career pathways to agriculture and do a better job of promoting this essential sector.”
To explore the many career options in agriculture, visit www.agcareers.com/career-profiles