Farming, teaching bedrock of Shane Wiseman’s career
Published 11:46 am Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Clark County native Shane Wiseman said he has known all his life that he wanted to be a farmer.
But when he met Frank Hicks, one of his FFA advisors, while attending George Rogers Clark High School, he discovered that he had a passion for teaching as well.
“He was a great role model,” Wiseman said. “I enjoyed his classes, but in the summer we worked fairs together and went to conferences together.”
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After his graduation, Wiseman got both his farm and a job teaching at the school he graduated from. He’s been teaching agriculture at GRC for nearly 20 years now, he said.
“I teach six different classes, all of them have to do with horticulture and mechanics,” Wiseman said.
The high school’s agriculture department has three teachers, including Wiseman, and can instruct on a number of different topics.
“In the ag department alone, you can get up to 12 hours of college credit before graduating high school,” Wiseman said.
He said that education is an important part of addressing an increasing trend in rural America of young people being multiple generations removed from a farm.
“The majority of students now are two generations removed from a farm,” Wiseman said. “They have a lack of practical knowledge that I took for granted.”
The issue makes learning about agriculture just as important as learning history, English or any other standard school subjects in the modern day, he said, because the lack of understanding leads to incorrect notions about what farming is.
“I try to teach students the truth of agriculture,” Wiseman said. “For instance, 99.9 percent of farmers try to leave the land in as good or better condition than it was when they found it.”
He said he often runs into students who take his class to meet graduation requirements thinking it will be boring and ending the semester telling him they learned a lot about farming they never knew.
When Wiseman isn’t teaching, he is raising beef cattle and tobacco on his farm.