Success, Balance, but Never Both: Exploring Reified Forms of Success in School-Based Agricultural Education


  • Haley Q. Traini Oregon State University
  • Kellie Claflin Oregon State University
  • Josh Stewart Oregon State University
  • Jonathan J. Velez Oregon State University



agriculture teachers, reified forms of success, work-life balance


This study utilized a case study design to explore how early career agriculture teachers in Oregon conceptualize success and work-life balance in school-based agricultural education. Wenger's (1998) theory of Communities of Practice, precisely the concept of reification, served as the framework for our study. Our population included 52 agriculture teachers who attended an early career teacher workshop and participated in a seminar on work-life balance. Overall, participants grappled with several tensions regarding notions of success, work-life balance, and the interactions between the two. Findings concluded "success" has been reified to equate the number of awards won, active FFA members, or money earned and, one can be a successful agriculture teacher, a balanced agriculture teacher, but never both. As agriculture teachers strive for success and balance, they encounter emotions of guilt, judgment, fear, and pressure. While participants acknowledged the tensions that exist between notions of success and notions of balance, any progress on achieving such balance is done in vain as no examples of balanced agriculture teachers exist, and messages about success and work-life balance are paradoxical and unsubstantiated. While this study focused on one state, it provides valuable insight into how agriculture teachers are defining and thinking about success.


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How to Cite

Traini, H. Q., Claflin, K., Stewart, J., & Velez, J. J. (2019). Success, Balance, but Never Both: Exploring Reified Forms of Success in School-Based Agricultural Education. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(4), 240–254.




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