Week 1 – Smooth & Slow

The theme of the week was Smooth & Slow.

This came about often as I spent my time at the Oregon State Fair observing and interacting primarily with Turtle Round High advisors. Both advisors are veteran teachers and both bring unique attributes to their team, however, it seemed that both operated with the mindset of Smooth & Slow.

During my time with them I watched students and other advisors from around the state bring ‘problems’ and situations to their attention, both would listen intently and answer diplomatically while still maintaining their personalities.


The orientation was not what I had anticipated. We quickly began discussing how to not screw up which in turn made my nerves jump. I don’t want to screw up. I want to be a good teacher. I don’t want to make my cooperating teacher mad.

However, with all of the rules outlined it adds clarity to my conversations and allows me to follow up with reasons. I appreciated the scapegoat’s transparency.

I believe that the Cohort lunch went really well. I am most curious to see how we interact with each other through out this year. By a quick observation of this year’s cohort it is easy to say there are some big personalities in this group.

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Friday & Saturday:

I spent the majority of my time with the goat species due to whom I was working with. I have always loved goats and see myself raising my own, however, I have never shown goats before. I learned a few things about the different breeds of goats and the more preferred characteristics by interacting with the judge. Most importantly I observed how my cooperating teacher handled the chaos of organizing a show. Slowly and Smoothly he listened to the complaints of dust in the show ring, the concerns of time conflicts of hosting both dairy and meat goat shows at the same time, all while maintaining composure.


Friday night I spent time observing the T.R. Livestock Judging team practice a set of Oral Reasons. They were asked to give one set of reasons on a class of breeding ewes from a class earlier that day. I found it remarkable how the teacher soothed the students through mistakes. Each student had been reminded to allow the words to flow, to visualize the animal and the placing they gave, and to be Slow and Smooth.

Saturday I had the pleasure of being requested to learn how to judge a bale of wool. One of the most exciting things about this was it is something every sheep exhibitor can participate in, yet there were only a hand full of entries. I see this becoming an easy contest to participate in. I was taught by an expert wool judger that has very recently became a teacher. First, you look for character of the wool. Anything from is the wool pretty to how many crimps and waves does a staple of wool consist of. Second, you check the staple length. Each staple of wool must be at least three inches to match industry standard. Third, you check the strength of the wool. If you take the staple you just pulled and try to snap it in half, if there are any breaks, it is not a strong wool sample. Lastly, you check the weight of the entire wool bale. Wool can be varying weights dependent on how much landaline is in the bale.



I attempted to split my time with the various opportunities that were happening, however I found myself seeking comfort in the FFA office. I became overwhelmed and a bit tired from my previous day of fun. I did have the opportunity to observe the tractor driving contest and interact with an officer from the school I will be student teaching with. I had to correct the student for using my first name instead of Ms. Teece. Upon further discussion with the teachers I was shadowing this may be a common occurrence for me. We discussed what it was like for a teacher to change her name recently. I am learning quickly the style of language to use while correcting students. I learned how to diplomatically remind a student that I prefer to be called Ms. Teece.

Through another interaction with a student, I was made aware that I must pronounce sheep correctly or else I sounds as though I am swearing. Big lesson in itself.