Agriculture Instructor, Pontiac Township High School
Mr. Parker Bane, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Pontiac Township High School in Pontiac, Illinois, graduated from the University of Illinois in 2003. As an agriculture instructor, Mr. Bane says the most enjoyable part of his job is that "every day presents its own unique set of challenges." He enjoys working in an environment where he is constantly challenged, but at the end of the day, feels a great deal of satisfaction in knowing he has made a difference in someone else's life.
In order to excel in his profession, he feels flexibility, adaptability, and perserverance are essential. "I have found that the independence and self-reliance that I developed at the University of Illinois are valuable tools in helping me solve problems. Additionally, I learned a great deal of “academic humility” from my professors. Agriculture is the science of responsibly using living things for the good of the world. Sometimes living things surprise you, and I have learned to keep an open mind and not make assumptions about how things should work."
Mr. Bane credits his experiences at the University of Illinois for preparing him for his role as an agriculture instructor. "Not only was I able to work closely with experts in the field of education, but I was also able to learn technical agriculture skills under some of the world’s most respected professors. Additionally, I learned how to take a large, vibrant educational environment and make it smaller and more personalized. The relationships I built at the University of Illinois are priceless. Ultimately, the people make the experience great." While attending the University of Illinois, Mr. Bane was a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, Collegiate FFA, Illini Ag Mech Club, and Student Senate.
He feels the University of Illinois sets itself apart from other academic institutions because it is "home to world-class faculty and a diverse student population". He also notes that he has been most impressed by the caring nature of the faculty -- from teaching associates to the president of the university. "The people that make up the University of Illinois genuinely care about developing students into the best men and women they can be."