• Subjects you teach:  Ag Biology, Animal Science and Survey of Agriculture

  • Hobbies and interests outside of teaching:  Family, raising sheep, hunting and traveling

  • What do you love most about being an Ag teacher?  Teaching Ag to me is very rewarding.  I love to see the growth in students.  Many start as shy little freshman who don’t have much self-confidence and then transform into a better version of who they are meant to be.  I enjoy being part of that journey and helping them find who they can and are supposed to be.  I also love the comradery that Ag teachers share during different events throughout the year.  There are numerous opportunities to get together and talk to each other about life and Ag teaching.

  • What is your biggest challenge as an Ag teacher?  Balancing time schedules for me is the biggest challenge.  Ag teachers can do a lot and sometimes are expected to take on quite a bit.  When you add a family, hobbies and life in general you have to be very scheduled and do things with purpose.  This challenge is everywhere and in every profession and if you want to be good at what you do, you will have to spend some time working.  I truly believe challenges in general make you better.  It’s all about your attitude with them in approaching the situations and surrounding yourself with people who are supportive and encouraging.

  • What have you learned thus far in your teaching career that you wish you would have known when you first began teaching?  You don’t have to do everything in your first years of teaching.  Get really good at your classroom management your first year, focus on the FFA component your second year and then your third year you can add the community aspect of your program.  I’m not saying don’t do any of those other items in your first year, but just don’t beat yourself up for not excelling in them right away.  Strategize and don’t burn yourself out, Ag teaching is fun!

  • What advice would you give a novice teacher entering this profession now?  Find a mentor in the profession.  Look for somebody that is successful and is willing to share with you the tricks of the trade.  It will make your life more enjoyable by having someone to confide in and to help you out with different aspects of being an Ag teacher.  The folks that have been in the profession have a lot of knowledge and most are willing to share it.  I would definitely say to have a mentor is a must!

  • What personal qualities or abilities do you think are important to being successful in this profession?    Being a diligent worker and having a positive outlook on the Ag teacher lifestyle is crucial.  Everything you do, put effort in it.  People will take notice and appreciate it.  It never goes unnoticed, as you will see the fruits of your labor.  Measure your work against where you are starting and what you have to work with.  Don’t always compare yourself with other programs.  Yes, it is important to learn from them, but you should always see how you and your program are making progress.  Set goals to be able to see if you are growing and it’s a great way to see if you are working in an effective way.  The Ag teacher job is really a lifestyle.  It is not a 9-5 job; it actually sometimes can be a 24 hours job when you’re on trips for field days.  You have to look at this profession as a labor of love and how you are part of so many people’s lives and really making a difference in what you do.

  • What specific skills are important to being successful in this profession?  You have to be organized and a communicator.  There are many things thrown at you at one time with deadlines from the school, FFA and the community.  If you’re not organized you can easily get inundated with missed deadlines, poor performance and always feeling rushed which can lead to a poor outlook on your situation.  The ability to communicate is critical.  You have many folks you have to keep in your loop, other department members, staff, administrators, community members, parents and students.  People cannot read your mind and don’t assume they know what’s going on in your program.  Let them know what direction you’re headed in and how everything is going.  It will always help you out and get everyone on board with supporting you and the program.  No one person is perfect at these two items, but working on them should be at the top of your list.

  • What most prepared you for being an agriculture educator?  My former high school Ag teachers really helped me in the beginning by being models and mentors for me.  I would also say that the folks at Cal Poly and my student teaching site provided much for me in the way of guidance through how the classroom and profession works.

  • Describe Ag teaching in one to two words. Perpetual motion

Clemente Ayon

 

  • School: Santa Maria High School

  • Region: South Coast

  • Education and/or industry experience:

    • Cal Poly SLO, B.S. Crop Science – M.S. Agriculture Education

    • Industry experience:

    • Working in vegetables and strawberries with harvesting, chemical applications, irrigation/variety trials and experience in a soils lab.

    • 20+ years in sheep production

  • Years teaching ag: 16

2016 TESTIMONIAL

Teach Ag 2020

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