Volume 2 - Number 1 - 2001 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2001.01072
Enrollments in secondary agricultural education programs in New Mexico have steadily increased over the past several years placing more demands on the programs and their resources. A common approach in education is to enlist volunteers to provide assistance and extend resources. The purpose of this descriptive study was to investigate agricultural education teachers' attitudes toward volunteers, the perceived benefits and limitations of involving volunteers, and the types of roles in which volunteers were engaged. The population of this study was a census of all secondary and middle school agricultural education teachers in New Mexico during the Fall of 1999 (N = 90). A five-part instrument developed by the researchers was used to collect data. Agricultural education teachers strongly agreed that involving volunteers in their programs allowed them to focus on other parts of their programs, and that volunteers were an essential component to a successful agricultural education program. Eighty seven percent of the agricultural education teachers reported using volunteers in their program. Roles most commonly assumed by volunteers included: chaperones, guest speakers in class/lab, coaching CDE events, and assisting with various FFA activities. Of the 13% of the teachers who did not involve volunteers, the majority indicated that it was because they were new to the program, the program was too small, or too much time was required to properly supervise volunteers. Reported benefits of involving volunteers were: expanding the area of expertise and knowledge available to students, adding diversity and variety to the program, assisting with activities, and freeing the teacher to do other activities or work. Limitations cited were: time needed to train and supervise volunteers, communication breakdowns, personality conflicts, and lack of knowledge/expertise by the volunteer about the program, policies, discipline and/or subject area.