By April Clark Honaker
Agriscience teacher Landon Wade is settling into his first year at Choudrant High School after teaching for 10 years at Ruston High School.
“I feel like teaching is what I was meant to do,” he said.
But Wade did not begin his professional life as a teacher. While earning a bachelor’s degree in forestry from Louisiana Tech University, Wade worked as a consulting forester, transitioning to a full-time position once he graduated. After working in this industry for a about two and half years, Wade was laid off. “After Katrina, the forestry industry bottomed out and a lot of people lost their jobs,” he said.
At that time, Wade realized there would always be a need for teachers and felt teaching would be a good fit for him. It would allow him to build on and share his existing knowledge with others. Wade now holds a master’s in teaching with a concentration in agriscience and said, “I help students be more than they thought they could possibly be.”
Wade encourages his students not to settle for meeting the goals they set for themselves but instead to already be thinking of and working toward the next goal. His favorite thing about teaching is seeing the smile on the face of a student who just accomplished something they didn’t think they could accomplish.
He said, “That’s pretty much why all teachers teach, I believe.”
When Wade was still a fairly new teacher, he had a student who was the highest scoring individual two years in a row in the state Milk Quality and Products CDE (Career Development Event) for the Louisiana FFA Association. During her senior year, instead of training her, he taught her how to teach and lead her peers. She wasn’t the highest scoring individual that year, but her team won.
“That was one of the most rewarding things to begin my career in Ruston,” Wade said. Helping another student become the state FFA president when others were telling her she couldn’t was also rewarding. “That meant a lot to me as well,” Wade said.
Wade attributes much of his success as a teacher to those who taught him, including Sharon St. Andre, Track Kavanaugh and Mark Milstead.
“They were like my family away from home,” Wade said, “They really showed me I could be more than what I thought I could be, and I really try to emulate the lessons I learned from them.”
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