September 2020 CDE Update: Welcome to 2020-2021

By: Charles Parker, California Department of Education, State FFA Advisor

As the 2020-2021 school year begins, I cannot help but think back to that September day in 1980 when I welcomed those first students into my classroom. I was a 120 pound 23-year-old who resembled the students more than the faculty. I can vividly remember shaking when I stood in front of the class to introduce myself and take attendance. I will not even pretend to remember what I taught that day, but I am sure it was not important or done very well.

Over the years, each opening day was met with enthusiasm and a keen interest in meeting those new students. The nervousness I encountered that first day continued each year. Even today when we roll around to September, or August now, I find myself anxious to start a new year.

I can only imagine how you are feeling this year. Not only are you welcoming in a new group of students, you are meeting them for the first time via a computer screen. Often I wonder if I am part of some science fiction movie in some alternate universe, waiting to awake from some odd dream. However, when I pinch myself, I realize that it is reality!

As each of you begin the new school year, I want to extend my personal thank you for choosing to be an agricultural teacher. There is no nobler profession than that of teaching, except, being a teacher of agriculture. The coming year will most certainly be filled with new experiences, some failures, many successes and a bucketful of memories.

If appropriate, raise your cup of coffee, your bottle of water, or your beverage of choice and let’s toast. “May 2020-2021 be a year where we embrace social gatherings, a time we build lasting relationships and when we can strive to be bigger than ourselves. May 2020-2021 be the year where you accomplish your goals and realize your dreams. May 2020-2021 be the year in which you realize your potential and when you become a mentor for others. May 2020-2021 be your YEAR!”

To the best teachers in the world, enjoy your chosen profession and greet each day with the nervousness and excitement you had that first day! Welcome to 2020-2021.

For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit

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