EJH science teacher shares fresh eggs from family farm
Along with eighth-grade science students, Tim Heaton tends to three horses, a couple of dogs and cats, a mini pig, and two dozen chickens. For the past several months, he connected his school life and farm life by bringing in fresh eggs for families at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School. “When the pandemic hit, I kept seeing these stories about basic necessities,” he recalled. “Raising chickens can be challenging at times, but I’m able to help people who aren’t able to fill that need on their own. Being able to provide for people and donate eggs is reward enough.”
Heaton reached out to Carla Mack, coordinator of the Youth Services Center at Hayes, who organized the deliveries for families without access to fresh produce. Hayes also partnered with its feeder schools and the Woodhill Community Center to deliver food. “Our families are very appreciative and excited to receive fresh eggs. This is just another way our teachers are going above and beyond to address the needs of our community beyond the classroom walls,” Mack said, citing Heaton’s compassion and humble dedication.
Heaton, who is in his seventh year teaching at Hayes, is originally from a small town in southern Ohio. “My grandfather was a tobacco and cattle farmer, so I got my farming instincts from him,” he said. His wife, Amanda, also grew up in the country, so about five years ago they moved out to 12 acres in Madison County; Waco is about a 40-minute drive to Hayes.
The couple’s chickens typically produce an egg a day; however, the laying slows in winter because of less daylight. “You can put a light in the coop and they continue production, but I let my chickens have the downtime. It’s their time to reset and rejuvenate, and healthy chickens give better eggs,” Heaton said. Thus in the coming months, the chickens will just chill, molt, and grow new feathers. Around February, they will begin generating enough eggs again for Heaton to resume deliveries at school, where he can provide from five dozen to eventually 10 dozen per week.
Heaton welcomes this opportunity to invest in his students and the Hayes community. “Teaching is all about positive relationships. If you have a kid’s trust, you can teach them a whole lot easier,” he said. “You can make a bigger difference in their lives if you have that positive connection.”
(Posted Nov. 3, 2020)