Barrow County elementary teacher Diana Cole is the recipient of Georgia Farm Bureau’s
2019 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award. Cole, who teaches second through fourth grades at Statham Elementary School, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her classes to show her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives.
As the award winner, Cole received a $500 cash prize and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June. She will also present a workshop on her teaching methods at the Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference in March.
Cole has taught school for 35 years and at Statham Elementary for 13 years. She credits the Agriculture in the Classroom and Farm to School programs with providing her with a new, exciting way to reach students that has made teaching fun.
“Several years ago, I knew I could retire, but I didn’t want to. I felt I still have more in me to give my students, but I was looking for something to change up my teaching,” Cole said. “Participating in the Farm to School program and using Agriculture in the Classroom curriculum has allowed me to teach in a way that I have not always taught.”
One of the ways Cole teaches her students about agriculture includes having them grow vegetables in the school’s raised garden beds. After the students grow a vegetable, they harvest it, then bring it into the class where they cook a simple recipe with it.
Cole also welcomes local farmers to talk to her classes. One farmer brought eggs from her farm for the school incubator so the students could hatch their own chicks and learn about chickens and the egg life cycle.As president of the Statham Elementary Farm to School Booster Club, Cole has organized an Ag Day for the school for the past two years and plans to do so again in 2020.