Student teacher profile: Ag’s Hortoman


Many of us remember having a student teacher at some point in our life. Those student teachers may be quiet and barely interact or you could have one that makes a connection with every student and actually feels like a teacher. This is the case for Ms. Tyler Hortoman. Hortoman is a student from UGA that is student teaching basic agriculture, wildlife, metal fabrication, forestry, and agricultural business and leadership. It is her last week as a student teaching at MCHS. I interviewed her and found out how her experience was, how college is, advice she has for students going to college, and her future as a teacher. Here is what Hortoman said: 


What made you want to be an ag teacher? 

I was originally in college for animal and dairy science wanting to do pre-vet. Then I honestly realized the science classes are not for me with a pre veterinary science base. I prefer the hands-on learning and not the science part of it. Then I was a teaching assistant for my classes for animal science, I was able to help students learn and found out I loved it.  Watching students understand the material and wanting to know more was really cool to me. 

What is your favorite animal and why? 

My favorite animal is a Jersey Cow, Heifer, Cattle, in general. It has a lot of meaning for me because we owned Jersey Cattle in High School, so it is something that me and my dad bonded over. It’s my favorite for that reason.

What were you like in high school?

I was the ag kid, a teacher’s pet. I was very involved, especially in our FFA chapter. I was an officer for 3 years, I was in key club, I was in beta club, I was in Literary club, I played volleyball. I was a very involved kid.

What do you hope your future as a teacher looks like? 

I am teaching middle school next year, so it is going to be very different from my student teaching, but I hope that my teaching is going to encourage the students that I have to go into high school and take ag classes there too. I am hoping that I am going to stay at this school I am at in the fall for a good while. I want to grow the program and really find my place in the community. I hope my future as a teacher is in that school in the community growing kids and reaching as many kids as I can. Eventually I would like to move back to high school to help students through the college process and actually get a career in agriculture.

Are you going to miss student teaching? 

I am! I have cried three times over it already, and I know Monday is going to be a big crying day for me because I have fallen in love with these students. Y’all are so amazing, so great, willing to learn and be patient with me and help me learn as a teacher. So I am going to miss this school and the high school. 

What advice would you give to new student teachers? 

My advice for next year’s student teachers would be, I struggled with this, trying new things, and seeing what works and what doesn’t. So really trying new things. My professor told me that when we were student teaching that this is a time for you to fail and someone to be there and help catch you. I wish that I would have reached out of my comfort zone with teaching styles, teaching activities a little more because I do know that next year I won’t have someone to really catch my next year if I fail. 

Who has been the person who has helped you the most during college and student teaching? 

The person that has helped me the most was Mr. Pedraza’s student teacher. She has probably been my biggest help while I have been an agriculture education major. We have had all of our classes together, we have observed together, we got lucky to student teach with each other, we are able to bounce ideas off of each other, talk about what we are going through, talk about how we are feeling, and have someone to understand and sympathize through that. Besides that, my professors have been amazing. They are very understanding, very helpful, and willing to do anything for us. If we are texting them at ten o’clock at night, if they are awake they are going to text us right back, if not they are going to text us when they get up. They have been awesome!

Do you have any animals, if so how many?

Currently I have one dog in Athens that’s living with me, but back home I have 3 others. In total I would say I have 4 dogs. 

What advice would you give to students who want to go into teaching? 

I would say ask your teachers questions now. Kind of, I know it sounds crazy, but observe your teachers now on how they are teaching their classes, what do you like, what do you not like, and make a note of it. Because when you get to student teaching your own classroom, you can look back and have your examples about what you liked and what you didn’t like. I can think back to my high school, my middle school and my elementary school, but I don’t have anything specific that I wish I would have written down because every time you forget certain things. So I would honestly start making a list now. I definitely as soon as I wanted to be a teacher I looked at classrooms, I thought about my high school classroom; what I liked and what I didn’t like, what I noticed my teachers had. Cause knowing, one of my high school teachers had a filing system that I loved. It was by class, then by name, and your assignment went to that folder; it wasn’t grouped by assignment it was grouped by person. I loved that! So I was really lucky that I remembered to write that down. I don’t know why I just really loved it, and wanted to continue it in my classroom. 

What has been the most important lesson you have learned in college and student teaching? 

Through college, I was given this advice when I got to college: in high school we would compare each other to our classes, to our neighbor, to where I am in my class ranking and compare myself to others. In college you can not compare yourself to others. There is no class ranking. You are on your own, don’t go try to compare yourself to others because it’s just not going to work. When you get to college, especially if you get into a rigorous school with rigorous entry, y’all are all going to be smart people. Like if you were in the top number 1 at your school when you go to college you’re all going to be number 1. It’s really humbling to know that you have to have an individual thing, an individual plan, and an individual mindset of how you are going to accomplish your goals and not really worry about others too much. 

Student teaching I have learned a lot, but my biggest lesson I learned is not everything is going to go as planned and that is ok. If you try to explain something and it doesn’t work out, just start over and try another way. It is ok for something to not work because every student is different. Some students understand one way, and others do not. You have to be able to identify that what you are doing is not working. It can be scary to know that you are failing, but you have to have the mind set that this student’s education is the most important thing. You being right, or you doing it one way is not the most important thing, it is making sure that students understand it. 

What has been your favorite subject to teach? 

I am so biased, my favorite thing to teach is dairy cattle. I could talk so much about it and in so much detail, but I have to bring myself back and think about how much I need to teach you. I would love to teach you about the whole milking system, the whole bacteria count, and the specific pesticides that a cow can get because I did research on that. I could go really far with it, but it’s my favorite because I have always been passionate about it. I still have that passion deep down, I just have to reign it in a little bit. 

Is there anything that you didn’t expect to happen during your time as a student teacher that happened? 

So, I knew y’all were going to be nosey, like I knew it, I didn’t realize how many students did not know the point of its ok to be nosey and invading privacy. I did not prepare myself enough for that. Something else that I did not prepare myself for is, it’s going to sound bad, I did not expect so many students to give up so easily. Like if they just don’t know a question, they just sit there and don’t even think about the question. It’s not like ‘ok give me a minute and let me think about it.’ They are just like ‘ok don’t know it keep going.’ I don’t think I really expected it like to the extent that it is and the number of students that do it. 

What is one memory you will always remember from college? 

I have a lot of college memories because I was in a couple different student organizations, and I was an officer in one of them. My biggest college memory that I am going to take away is, UGA Block and Bridle hosts a rodeo, and I was the treasure for that and the tickets chair. That is something that I will always remember. Rodeo is a big part of my collage!

What is one memory you will always remember from student teaching

I could probably tell you that I am always going to want to keep with me. I would say making ice cream because it is something that I am passionate about. It is just fun to do! Making butter making ice cream, just the hands-on activities are probably going to be my biggest take away!


Good luck to Ms. Hortman and her future as a teacher. I cannot personally wait to see what an amazing teacher you become. You have been one of the best student teachers, and the future students of yours are going to be so lucky to have you! Good luck!