|Zebra Staff Note:|
|The Teacher Feature highlights the positive impact or innovative work of a South Dakota teacher each month. If you have a suggestion for a Teacher Feature, contact Laura Haatvedt at (605) 773-2593 or firstname.lastname@example.org.|
Wall CTE teacher inspires students through creativity
Wall CTE teacher Dani Herring was inspired to become an Ag teacher by the instructor she had in high school at Newell. Then as a senior in high school, she had the opportunity to coach an FFA Sales team.
“They ended up winning the state contest and that feeling of accomplishment was better than when my own team won the same award,” Herring said. “It was then that I decided I wanted to teach Ag and help students accomplish their goals.”
Two years into her career at Wall, Herring still puts some of those same life lessons she learned from her Ag teacher to practice. One of her favorite memories as a teacher so far was when Wall won a State FFA event and got to compete at the National FFA Convention.
“The students who were on that team worked hard and were rewarded for their efforts,” Herring said. “Seeing how happy it made them to be successful makes the long hours all worthwhile.”
Herring definitely has plenty to keep her busy at Wall. In addition to teaching a wide variety of classes and serving as the school’s FFA advisor, she also coaches volleyball and sits on the South Dakota FFA Foundation’s Executive Board.
“One of my favorite classes to teach is Ag Processing which covers Food Science, Dairy Foods and Meat Science. The students love creating their own food product – they get to design packaging, nutrition labels, develop a recipe and then make their product for the class,” Herring said.
“One of my favorite activities is in my Ag Metal Fabrication class. The students make horse shoe people as a welding project and it has to do with something they’re interested in. I have had everything from football players, golfers and calf ropers to a video game player complete with a miniature TV and game controller. Any project that we do where they get to express some creativity is fun for me, because you never know what students will come up with.”
Since beginning her career, Herring has tried to create projects that require students to do the work, rather than standing in front of the class lecturing. She also covers core content concepts with real world examples.
“I get to teach students about English by reading a user manual for a piece of equipment, math by calculating feed rations or making a bill of materials, and science through food processing and technology,” Herring said. “It’s fun for them to learn, which makes it fun for me to teach.”