Agricultural Education Teacher Self-Efficacy: Development Through Teacher Preparation and Novice Teaching
Agricultural education, at the secondary school level, faces a critical teacher shortage. Kantrovich (2007) estimated a nationwide agriculture teacher deficit of 38.5% for 2007. Of the 785 qualified graduates in 2005-2006, professors estimated that 69.8% of the graduates planned to enter the profession of agricultural education. The required number of teachers for 2005-2006 was estimated at 652, with an estimated 547 graduates entering the profession (Kantrovich, 2007). The projected shortage necessitated the closure of approximately 40 agricultural education programs in the US, due to the lack of a qualified teacher (Kantrovich, 2007). "This (potential teachers, placement, and the teacher shortage) has the potential to reach epidemic proportions if we are unable to recruit additional students into the field of agricultural education and the
continued growth in secondary agricultural education programs" (Kantrovich, p. 37, 2007). Adding to low number of graduates of agricultural education programs entering the teaching profession, are a "large number" of agriculture teachers leave the profession early in their careers (Myers, Dyer, & Washburn, 2005). Idaho is not exempt from this shortage. Swan (2009a) found that 27.3% of graduates in Agricultural Education in the Northwest did not enter the teaching profession. In the 2008-2009 school year, 102 positions in agricultural education were available; of those, only 24 recent graduates entered the teaching profession. Many of the available positions were filled by ". . .alternatively certified teachers, current teachers moving, teachers returning to the profession, and even recently retired teachers" (Swan, 2009a, pg. 6). In Idaho, there were 19 available positions during the
2008-2009 school year; while only 4 graduates were certified to teach (Swan, 2009b). The self- beliefs of a teacher, or perceived teacher self-efficacy, must withstand the difficulties and complexities inherent to teaching. Agricultural education in high schools, by the nature of the agriculture program, brings an additional set of responsibilities, and, therefore, possible difficulties to beginning teachers. The additional responsibilities of advising the FFA chapter and supervising the students' supervised agricultural education programs (SAE's) increase the challenges and demands for a beginning agriculture teacher. "As induction assistance programs are planned for beginning agriculture teachers, some consideration for those [SAE's and FFA] unique needs should be taken into account" (Talbert, Camp, & Heath-Camp, 1994, p. 35). A high sense of teacher self-efficacy can be instrumental
to a beginning agricultural educator's success and, therefore, retention in the profession.