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Russell Zimmerman

  • Name: Russell Zimmerman

  • School: Templeton High School>Nipomo High School Next Year

  • Region: South Coast

  • Education and/or industry experience:  B.S. Agricultural Sciences, Cal Poly SLO

  • Years teaching ag: 4

  • Subjects you teach: Intro to Horticulture & Plant Science, Greenhouse Management, Landscape Design & Maintenance, Intro to Ag Mechanics, Ag Leadership and in previous years Intro to Ag Science, Woodshop and Viticulture

  • Hobbies and interests outside of teaching: Outside of teaching I enjoy traveling whenever possible, gardening, tennis, golf, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Russell Zimmerman.jpg
  • What do you love most about being an ag teacher?  My favorite thing about being an ag teacher is the opportunity to see growth and change in students. As an ag teacher we are some of the only people besides our students, friends and family that get to watch and help make this happen. Students will have you all 4 years compared to a regular teacher that typically gets them one year. You get to build relationships with students that are far more than superficial with all the travel and activities that we do with them.

  • What is your biggest challenge as an ag teacher?  My biggest challenge as an ag teacher is finding the balance between professional and personal life.

  • What have you learned thus far in your teaching career that you wish you would have known when you first began teaching?  I wish when I started teaching that I knew the importance of school and department culture. We typically discuss culture as something we do not want to talk about but it makes all the difference. The setting you create in your classroom and department will influence the type of student you have, the quality of work they submit, the engagement they have, and how the community and rest of the campus will see you.

  • What advice would you give a novice teacher entering this profession now?  ENGAGE! You will get out of this profession what you put into it. You can do the bare minimum but the rewards of seeing the growth, change, and success in students will never come to fruition. Take part in as much of CATA, FFA, and SAE as you can. On rough days, power through and know that the work you do is for the two most critical industries in our world: Agriculture and Education. You do make a difference.

  • What personal qualities or abilities do you think are important to being successful in this profession?  Time management, Organization, and Empathy I feel are the most important to success as an ag teacher. There is always something to do and you need to manage your time throughout the day so that you can have a personal life. There is also a lot more paperwork to do then you may expect with registrations, field trip requests, check and finance requests, grant spending, prep work, and grading. Do not procrastinate and know what you need to get done when you come into work every day. Lastly, empathy is huge in my book. You need to have the heart to do this job well. If you do not care for your students or take a moment to realize what others are going through, the connections you will make with both curriculum and students will be weak.

  • What most prepared you for being an agriculture educator?  I think my high school experience with Hanford FFA coupled with facilitating GLC and ALA conferences in college most prepared me for this profession. I came from a program that understood the importance of all 3 circles of ag education and that was instilled into my teaching philosophy. I also learned how to work with students and get them excited and passionate about agriculture, personal growth, and building relationships with others prior to entering the classroom.

  • If you could relive one of your most memorable days as a teacher, which day would it be and why?  The most memorable day I have had as a teacher was seeing my first class of students that started as freshman my first year at Templeton. That year I had all of the freshmen in our department so it was very rewarding to see them all grow up and earn recognition for their hard work in high school.

  •  Describe ag teaching in one to two words. Rewarding

- 2022 -

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