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Dave Gossman

Dave Gossman


  • School:  Atwater High School

  • Region:  Central

  • Education and/or industry experience:

    • (1988) Moorpark College, A.S. Degree - Exotic Animal Training and Management

    • (2001) Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, B.S. Degree - Agriculture Science

    • (2003) Cal Poly, San Luis Obsipo, M.S. Degree - Agriculture / Agriculture Education

    • (1988-1999) Sea Lion / Dolphin Trainer and Director of Animal Management at Marine World Africa, Dolphin Quest Hawaii, Dolphin Quest Moorea, and Dolphin Quest Bermuda.

  • Years teaching ag: 13 years

  • Subjects you teach: 

    • Currently – Environmental Horticulture and Ag Earth Science

    • Former – Ag Life, Ag Biology, Exploration in Agriculture, and Ag Econ/Govt

  • Hobbies and interests outside of teaching: Traveling and attending professional sporting events

  • What do you love most about being an ag educator? The variety of subject matter, the “outside the classroom” opportunities, and the opportunity to positively influence and work with young adults who are venturing into their own independence of adulthood.

  • What is your biggest challenge as an ag educator? Personal challenge – Balancing “time” between family and work. Having the support and flexibility from family towards doing what you believe in. Professional challenge – Facing and overcoming the stereotype of agriculture education being limited to “ag kids only” and the credibility of our profession being looked upon by others as being “lesser than” compared to other established (core) educational avenues.

  • What have you learned thus far in your teaching career that you wish you would have known when you first began teaching? I feel I entered the profession with an advantage of coming from a strong/productive ag/FFA program in high school and the experience of a previous career prior to teaching. This gave me more experience/confidence coming in, while having the confidence to seek insight/assistance from other successful teachers/programs moving forward.

  • What advice would you give a novice teacher entering this profession in 2015? This job (profession) requires COMMITMENT and EFFORT. This job (profession) extends beyond the classroom. This job (profession) requires a commitment and effort towards all 3 circles (classroom/lab, SAE’s, and FFA/leadership) of the agriculture education blueprint. The most successful teachers/programs in our profession are “doers”, get things done, effective communicators, and are always striving to be more efficient in order to maximize productivity. It’s a job (profession) that requires the ability to manage time effectively where much of your time is spent beyond the regular school/educational “routine”. This job (profession) involves time, commitment, and effort MORE than what you think it may involve  …… HOWEVER, it is a job (profession) that is one of the most fun, exhilarating, and rewarding careers one can have if “making a positive difference in the lives of young people” is something you TRULY believe in.

  • What personal qualities or abilities do you think are important to being successful in this profession? 

    • You need to be a doer

    • Confidence

    • Ability to “get the job done”

    • The ability to organize, prioritize, and “chip away” at the tasks at hand each and every day

    • The focus on “being respected”, rather than “being liked”

    • You need to have an attitude of “finding ways in which you can”, rather than making excuses in “why you can’t”

    • The ability to utilize people/resources for insight, information, and resources

    • The ability to delegate and motivate

    • The ability to always remember the focal point of our profession – “KIDS”

    • Sense of humor …… Life is too short. “Enjoy the ride” ….

  • What specific skills are important to being successful in this profession?

    • Skills are “something you can do”, and you need to have the skill(s) related to “being a doer”

    • Communication

    • Technology

    • Classroom management

    • Time management

    • Organization

    • Leadership

  • What most prepared you for being an agriculture educator?

    • Two things:

      • #1  The agriculture education and FFA experience I experienced in high school. Being part of a very active, involved, and productive 3-circle agriculture  program in high school provided me with the knowledge and experience of knowing what the results of the profession were all about.

      • #2 The opportunity and ability to collaborate with successful peers and colleagues in order to gain insight, mentoring, support, and resources.

  • Describe ag teaching in one to two words. Positive influence


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