Published in North Central Region American Association for Agricultural Education Research Conference Proceedings: Lincoln, NE., September 27, 2009, pages 223-232. Copyright © 2009 American Association for Agricultural Education.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Benjamin G. Swan was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
Students enter an agricultural teacher preparation program planning to teach agriculture. However, career intent appears to change during the preservice program for many students. The teacher’s “heart” is the combination of a teacher’s: mission, faith in teaching, caring for their students, and enthusiasm displayed in the classroom. There is no published research that examines the development of the teacher’s “heart” and how it relates to career intent. Further, Palmer (1998) stated that teacher “heart” cannot be developed; only diminished. However, Peterson and Seligman (2004) stated that the virtues of care, enthusiasm, hope, faith, and mission can be developed. No published research exists to discern the “heart” of a teacher, its development or lack thereof, and its change during the preservice program. The purpose of this descriptive correlational study was to determine the level of a teacher’s “heart”. The study also investigated whether the level of the teacher’s “heart” explained the intent to pursue a career in agricultural education. The study found at the conclusion of the student teaching experience, 26% of the variance in career intent was due to the level of the teacher’s “heart”. Over the period of the student teaching experience, the level of teachers’ “heart” significantly increased.