On behalf of the CATA Executive Committee, we write this letter to encourage our members to think about how we work through these trying times, particularly, preparing our students to compete in virtual LDE and CDE competitions. It has come to our attention that there are some shortfalls in how some students are behaving in virtual competitions. Some examples include:
- Cheating on tests and judging
- Eating during competitions
- Using filters or inappropriate backgrounds on zoom
- Walking behind individuals giving reasons to “photo bomb” the competitor
- Turning off computer cameras during competitions
We understand virtual competitions are not ideal, but we must make our current situation work. With that being said, we need everyone’s help; we are missing the “Ag Van Talks” before contests. Please work with your students and explain the need to be professional when competing in these contests. It does not matter if the contest is in person or virtual, the students are still a reflection of us as teachers, the programs they come from and FFA as a whole. We need to seriously have these discussions with our students as we risk embarrassment in front of the universities, colleges and community members who put in countless hours to host these virtual and future in person events.
It is our job to promote our programs, promote this association and show how we are great in all aspects of Career Technical Education. Our job is both stressful and rewarding; we need to focus on the rewarding aspects and push our students to behave in a better way. For the vast majority of students competing, there is no issue, but we all know that small percentage of negativity will have a lasting effect on our future. We have an opportunity to show how we overcame the challenges of school closures and Covid-19, let us take this opportunity to show how great our programs are and how our students can perform even in a less than ideal environment.
We ask that you all look to the Code of Ethics we all received when becoming a new teacher. Be proud of our profession and programs; grow with our students and overcome this challenging time; work with other teachers throughout the state; take an active role in our students and campuses; promote agricultural education and set expectations for our students; be honest and instill those beliefs in our students; treat others with dignity; choose not to be negative towards others; and be the best example for our students.
Rosemary Cummings, Shay Williams-Hopper, Kevin Woodard, John Williams, Erin Gorter, Stephanie Goeb, Jessie Cardoso, Leimone Waite, and Tim Donovan
CATA Executive Committee
CATA Code of Ethics
- I am proud of my profession
- I shall conduct myself with dignity and in a professional manner.
- I shall endeavor to grown and develop in my profession.
- I shall work in harmony with school authorities and other teachers of the school.
- I shall take an active part in school and community life.
- I shall work for the advancement of agriculture and promote agricultural education.
- I shall be patient, honest and fair in my dealings.
- I shall treat others with dignity and respect.
- I shall strive to set before my students, by example, the highest standards of citizenship.
- I shall give of myself that each of my students may be inspired to make his future life more full and productive
For more information about the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association, visit http://calagteachers.org/