Since 1981 Mose Mock has been teaching agriculture in Effingham County.
Teaching was not what he had intended to do when he graduated from college.
“When I was in college in ag they always said you want to be an ag teacher or you want to be a county agent,” Mock said. “I said no, I just want to be a farmer.”
He did farm for a few years until he was injured in a farming accident.
“Crushed my ankle,” Mock said. “I was laid up for almost a year.”
Mock said former superintendent Michael Moore asked him to fill-in in a science class.
“At Christmas time he said I really need you to be an ag teacher,” Mock said. “My daddy was an ag teacher also at the time. Even though my wife tried to talk me out of it because she saw how many hours he put in I didn’t listen, and I did it, and here we are.”
“My two greatest loves have always been I loved working with young people in the church, and I loved agriculture,” Mock said. “So if you think about it, it was perfect for me.”
For Mock it’s not just about teaching the students the academic requirements.
“I think academics are certainly important, but I think learning to function in a democratic society is probably about the best thing I can teach them,” Mock said. “We have a motto it’s not just cows and plows. It’s learning how to take responsibility. It’s learning how to get along with others. Courtesy is our key word I try to teach them, and always know how to say thank you. If they can learn those traits they’ll get along OK.”
Mock’s most memorable moments as a teacher include:
“Seeing the boys the first time on an airplane. Seeing their eyes when the plane takes off. Seeing a child win grand champion when they didn’t really think they had it in them,” Mock said. “Seeing when the kids with the pals program when we work with the boys home every year right after we finish it we have a talk about a little reflection of what they’ve gained, or learned. When they realize it’s more important to have helped somebody that to get themselves.”
Mock said his greatest compliment came at a parent meeting when he said he was not the most competition oriented, or the “winningest” teacher.
“One of the highest complements I ever got was they said we just want someone to be a role model and love the kids, and I said, now I can do that. That’s what I’ve tried to do,” he said.
Darren Dickerson has not only had two sons who have taken Mock’s classes,and been president of the FFA, he was in Mock’s class in high school as well.
“Back in those days he made it fun and interesting,” Dickerson said. “His father was the same way.”
“He’s taught all of us through the years,” Dickerson said. “We always had a good time with Mose. He probably didn’t have the best time with us.”
Dickerson said Mock has a great working relationship with the parents of his students.
Dickerson said he believes Mock’s students have learned respect, wisdom and friendship from him.
“They’ve learned about being in the community,” Dickerson said. “He has a way of rubbing off on you.”
Dickerson said Mock would do anything for his students.
“He’s left a mark on them that they’ll never erase,” Dickerson said.
He said Mock is always busy.
“I don’t know where he get the steam to keep going,” Dickerson said. He also said Mock has missed his wife Dale’s birthday while at the fair.
Dale said Mose has only missed her birthday twice, and the second time he knew it was that week, but was going to celebrate on another day.
“The week of fair always throws him for a loop,” she said. As for Mock’s busy schedule, Dale said she thinks he feels it more than she has.
“He’s the one doing everything,” she said.
Dale said she doesn’t think he would have been happy if he wasn’t working with people.
South Effingham High School Principal Dan Noel said Mock steps up for many things.
“He invited me to go to his church,” Noel said. “I had no clue he was the song leader.”
Noel said Mock takes a real interest in the students, and has the largest club on the campus.
“He’s very sincere,” Noel said. “He doesn’t expect recognition, but he deserves a lot.”
Noel said Mock is an important part of SEHS.
Mock has said that he will retire this year. Noel said he hopes Mock doesn’t leave.
Noel said Mock is proud of his students and their accomplishments. He’s also very proud of his family.
“He’s a well rounded individual,” Noel said.
Noel said Mock accepts people the way they are.
“I feel like I have a friend,” Noel said.
Bill McIlrath Sr. of Bethesda Home for Boys has worked with Mock for approximately 30 years.
McIlrath said Mock is someone who is dependable, honest, trustworthy and accepts responsibility.
McIlrath said Mock has helped him any time he has had a question about farming. He also described Mock as a good communicator.
For 10 years Mock has worked with Bethesda in a program that allows Effingham students to show cows owned by Bethesda, and the Effingham students mentor boys for Bethesda while learning to handle the cows.
“I think of that program and the quality he produced, and the example he sets for the students,” McIlrath said.
He said the Effingham students have always been “good mentors for our boys”.
“I would stand behind him no matter what,” McIlrath said. “He’s been a real friend.”
“He’s always the same Mose,” McIlrath said. “He’s consistent.”
Mock said he feels it is time for him to leave SEHS. He said he believes everything has a season.
“My season has come,” Mock said. “I want to go out feeling good about me and the program.”
He said it is time for a new leader to take over.
“Someone younger with more energy,” Mock said. “Somebody who’s more technology proficient than I am.”
Mock said he has a couple things in mind for after he retires.
“Mainly I want to try to catch up what I’ve let slide for years on the farm,” he said. “It’ll take years just to get all the fence fixed, and the things that I’ve let slide. I want to spend some time with my daddy.”
He said for a long time he told students he wouldn’t leave before they graduated, but the last student he made that promise to graduates this year.
“These students will just be students for a short time then they will be citizens of the community,” Mock said. “They are our most precious assets.”