Connecting agriculture and education: Meredith Glasscock shares her passion with Hartselle students
Photos by Jodi Hyde
If there’s one thing students in Meredith Glasscock’s agriculture education class will learn from her, it’s how to cultivate their passion for agriculture and share it with others.
“It is so important for our students to know about agriculture and how it impacts our daily lives and the community we live in,” Glasscock said. “It impacts all of us every single day, from the food we eat to the clothes we wear.”
She teaches students at Hartselle High School as a part of the career pathways program. Four classes are offered as electives, including fundamental, intermediate, applied and advanced agriscience.
Glasscock’s agriculture education classes encompass everything from animal science, horticulture, aquaculture, forestry, woodworking, plumbing and small-engine repair. She is also the sponsor of the Future Farmers of America, a club every student in her class is automatically a part of when they enroll in agriculture education.
“The FFA is a good way for our students to get involved in the community, show their passion and interest in the ag field and just share the word that agriculture is important,” she said.
“Ag ed is a diverse bubble,” the Mississippi State alum added. “There’s so much more to agriculture education than farming and shop class.”
Having always been exposed to the field in some way, Glasscock pursued degrees in animal and dairy science, agriculture extension and education, knowing she eventually wanted to put her passion to use in the classroom.
Glasscock said when she first began studying agriculture education, it was rare to find a woman in the field, but females are becoming more and more involved in the aspects of the science. She saw an increase this year from five to 12 female students who enrolled in her class.
“As long as you have the background and the passion, you can thrive in this field,” she said.
Along with her passion for the subject she teaches her students every day, Glasscock said she learned from her father to expect only the best and have high expectations.
“My father was a general in the Army and he raised my brother and me to fix something if it was broken and to solve our own problems,” she said. “He held us to the same standard, and I think that has gone on the benefit me in adulthood and as an educator.”
One of my students said to me, ‘You really have high expectations of us,’ and I said ‘Yes, I do, because I know how great and awesome y’all can be, especially in the agriculture field,’” Glasscock added.
This year, Glasscock’s students will raise chickens, grow and sell their own plants in a greenhouse, harvest fur from an Angora rabbit they will keep as a class pet and even monitor the animal’s nutritional intake as a part of their class assignments.
Glasscock said agriculture education has changed a great deal since her time in college, and she enjoys continuing to learn more about her passion along with her students every day.
“Agriculture education is constantly evolving, and it’s one big learning process,” she said. “So, if my students want to learn, I want them to learn by doing instead of by me just teaching them out of a book.”
When not in the classroom, she can be found learning more about her passion at home. Glasscock and her husband Bud, who she met at Mississippi State, own a cow-calf operation just outside of Hartselle called Glasscock Farms.