MONTAGUE – High school teacher Carson Letot received an all expenses paid trip to Anaheim, Calif. courtesy of RAM Trucks.
Letot was the recipient of the Teacher Turn the Key award for region four. The Teacher Turn the Key award is given to teachers who are in their first three to five years of teaching continuing education.
In Letot’s case he works as a science teacher and is one of the advisors for Montague High School’s FFA program.
He was recognized for the award during the National Association of Agricultural Educator’s national convention on Dec. 3. As the region four recipient, his flight, hotel room and ticket to the convention were all paid for.
He also received $100 as a prize for the award. He said the money went towards buying donuts for his first hour students.
“I tend to see a little bit more energy out of my first hour students with some sugar in them,” said Letot.
Letot is in his third year of teaching at Montague, and his fourth year teaching overall. Prior to teaching at Montague he student taught for Lowell Area Schools, and at Cornell University in New York as a graduate student.
Letot said to be considered for the award he had to apply for it himself, and had to ask for letters of recommendations from people he knows.
“It is a fairly lengthy application process, and it hinges off of two major things. The first thing is, ‘What have you done that is innovative in the classroom,’” said Letot.
“So I think it typically relies heavily on curriculum development. So if you’ve done some sort of curriculum development, or some sort of policy program initiative in the school that helps.”
He continued, “Then the other part of it is, ‘What have you done as an FFA advisor with programming initiatives?’ So I think what helped me a lot is I developed a curriculum in grad school that I implemented here.
“I was pretty successful with the natural resources class a couple years ago. Then outside of that, (the appllication included) a couple of the programs I have done to acquire grants to build the edible landscape and work with Pekadill’s downtown. I think that played into why I was successful in getting that award.”
Originally, Letot applied for the Teacher Turn the Key award to help bring new awareness to the school’s FFA program. He said that Montague’s program is considered to be one of the more elite ones in Michigan.
However, one of the unintended benefits of getting the award was the networking he did with teachers from across the country.
“It is one thing to get a plaque. It’s a pretty cool plaque. But it’s another thing to get the opportunity to network with people, and be collaborative like that,” said Letot.
“It is way more meaningful than any award that I have received,” he added.
Through his networking Letot met an FFA teacher from Hawaii. The two educators agreed to exchange produce with one another.
For more information about Teacher Turn the Key visit: https://www.naae.org/resources/awards/2006awards/TTTK.cfm.