One of our student teachers this semester has been Ms. Amber Patterson, who is studying to become an agriculture teacher and has been working with Mrs. Brunton. Ms. Patterson is an alum of one of our rival schools within the Six Rivers West Conference: River Ridge.
Ms. Patterson grew up on a farm just outside of Bloomington, Wisconsin, which is where she found out she loved agriculture. During high school, she was a three-sport athlete in volleyball, basketball, and softball, and was heavily involved with River Ridge’s FFA. She then attended UW-River Falls for agriculture education. “I chose UW-River Falls as when I went there for a college visit, it truly felt like home. Though it was four hours away, I had many people from the area who were already attending. I truly enjoyed being able to connect with students and faculty that cared about me as a student and person,” said Patterson.
In the 2018-19 school year, Ms. Patterson was elected Vice President of the Wisconsin State FFA Organization. She was in charge of our local area schools’ FFA organizations, including Potosi’s. Ms. Patterson actually came to Potosi in that time frame, prior to being assigned here as a student teacher, to conduct a leadership session with Potosi’s FFA officers and led all FFA members in a teamwork activity. This is where she met our wonderful Ag teacher, Mrs. Tracy Brunton, for the first time. This is how she knew Potosi was the right place for her to student teach. Patterson explained, “I knew of Potosi throughout high school. We came to Potosi for sports every year so I knew the setup of the school and some of the students. I knew that I wanted to student teach at Potosi with Mrs. Brunton when I came to Potosi during my year of state office. When I came, I was so welcomed by staff as well as the students; from that I knew this would be a perfect fit for me.”
She started back in September and is now teaching almost all of Mrs. Brunton’s classes. The students are starting to open up to her, and she is giving the students another way of learning ag. “I want to give students knowledge and skills to better themselves for their future, while keeping an open line of communication. I want students to feel comfortable to come ask me questions or express their concerns.” Ms. Patterson explained.
Even though she can teach a little differently than Mrs. Brunton, that doesn’t mean she isn't picking up some of the vetren teacher traits. “Since being with Mrs. Brunton, I have learned so many new techniques and ideas to use in the classroom. I have learned how to manage the classroom well in many situations. She has helped me create and change curriculum ideas all while allowing me to teach in my own way.” Ms. Patterson said.
There is more than just teaching though. Ms. Patterson was a very successful and well known three-sport athlete when attending River Ridge High School. Ms. Patterson wanted to continue those activities, so in college, she helped out the UW-River Falls Women’s Basketball team. Now that she is not up there, she was looking for something else involving sports. Patterson explained, “When I came to Potosi, I knew that I could also have an opportunity to assist in coaching basketball. When the season came around and the girls had their first meeting, I went and offered my time, and Brad was quick to say yes to me helping. I am very grateful to work with the girls and be a part of the Potosi-Cassville Basketball Program.” Coaching against her home team must not feel normal, but she has a supportive Potosi community behind her back.
Now that Ms. Patterson has learned where her wings are, she is about to fly. She will be long term subbing at Iowa-Grant school district next semester. “After student teaching, I will be long term subbing at Iowa-Grant High school, and then start looking for a full-time position next fall. I have had the opportunity to connect with many agricultural educators in the area, therefore if there is an opening, they are willing to help. There is also a website where many school districts post their openings.” said Patterson. I know she will be missed by the students of Potosi.
Whether it is helping you get ready for the local county fair, learning something new about agriculture, or something about a sport, Ms. Patterson has a well-developed set of skills.