In his earlier teaching days, Conard talks with agriculture students in a field. He wrote the curriculum for the Agriculture Diesel Program at HCC. Courtesy of HutchCC Marketing
is something we always try to do. I learn from the students all the time. There is always an exchange of ideas here because a lot of them have their own experiences to draw from.” Seth Robinson, Harper, is one of Conard’s students. He spends his time between classes sitting in Conard’s office drinking coffee and talking about farming. “He can be pretty exciting,” Robinson said. “You just never know what’s coming. His favorite saying is, ‘Did you read the book?’” Also found in Conard’s offic between classes is Payden Schag, Lindsborg. He said he feels like he gets a lot out of Conard’s classes because he pushes students to go further. “He really challenges you to figure it out on your own,” Schag said. “Like if you’re having trouble with some engine part, he’ll always ask you if you read the book first. That’s why I like his class, it teaches you to troubleshoot.” Conard said he feels accomplished when he meets with students who have graduated. “I like seeing former students and what they’re doing now,” he said. “Some have had a lot of success in this field. We have some students who work at AGCO, some are farming, some are applying this knowledge at home, others have chosen not to go into it, but knowing that I helped them make that decision is an accomplishment for me.” For instructors who hope to make it as long as Conard, he does have some advice.
“It’s going to take at least fi e years to get settled in,” he said. “You have to have a passion for teaching, and if it’s not there this it’s going to be difficult After 40 years, Conard calls his job interesting and he still enjoys the problem solving that comes a lot with it. “Out here we work on different projects,” he said. “We are constantly trying to figure out the solution to a problem, and most of the time our problems are different. Sometimes it’s the same problem, just different faces. That’s what keeps it interesting for me.” He said that eventually he will retire, but not today. “A lot has happened in 40 years,” he said. “I still know and get together with students from my first class. Retirement will come sooner or later, I’m not quite sure when, but it will happen. I’m passionate about teaching, and the students, it’s really the students that keep me here.”
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