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Combining passions at the ADC

Posted on August 3, 2023 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson
Commentator/Courier
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Going into the final year of his Bachelor of Education in September at Medicine Hat College, Ty Jans is spending the summer working at the Agriculture Discovery Centre at Irvine School.

“After I got this job,” said Jans, “I found out my practicum is out at Irvine this year so it’s pretty nice I can come out here, develop a few curriculum things, see where I can integrate this into the classroom and use something I am spending my summer at into making my education better.”

Familiar with the rural school experience, having grown up on a farm and attending Seven Persons School for K-9, and high school at Eagle Butte, Jans feels the summer job nicely combines the two biggest things in his life.

“It’s cool to weave those two things together in a unique environment. Learning from Nichole (Neubauer) is great too, she has been a wealth of knowledge for me,” said Jans.

His post-secondary journey has been a winding path.

“I wanted to get done in four years, it took me six,” he said. “I went to University of Lethbridge, the pandemic came. In the pandemic years my grades took a fall off the cliff. The first year back, I did a good job of building myself back up, got into the faculty and we’re here now.”

He says he feels that adversity will make him a better teacher because life is never simple.

“It’s all about learning from that adversity and the challenges as opposed to letting them weight you down and define you,” he said.

After heading back to Medicine Hat, Jans decided to move back home, which his parents were delighted about as it’s always helpful to have extra hands around the farm.

His mother teaches at Medicine Hat High School and is part of the reason Jans is pursuing a teaching career path. For his practicum, Jans will be teaching Grades 7-9 social studies 75% of the time and language arts to Grades 5-7 for the remainder of the time.

Working at the ADC is mostly about caring for the animals, ensuring they are fed and watered along with cleaning out the stalls. Jans says he enjoys spending time with the animals, particularly the pigs, an animal he doesn’t have much experience with.

One pig got out of the stall this summer and took him on a run around Irvine, but the animal outsmarted Jans and was back in his stall cooling off when Jans returned from his search.

“This is completely student-driven and the reason I have a chance to be out here this summer is because the kids did such a good job in the fall and the spring,” explained Jans. “My job is to improve some services. I’m developing some tool kits and experiences that can be put in the classroom.”

Jans is also working on making the ADC a summer destination, a reason to drive 20 minutes down the highway and visit Irvine to get a taste of the agriculture experience.

“Ideally, this place is the middle ground, we are making it easy to hear the farmer perspective and easy to integrate it into your classroom,” said Jans. “It’s a unique opportunity that I’m incredibly thankful for.”

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