By Julie Tomascik

Early mornings. Late nights. And sometimes many miles in between.

It’s the story of an agricultural science teacher. The ones who spend the day teaching in the classroom or workshop. Just to help FFA members with projects after school. And travel to competitions with them—all year long.

Because agricultural science teachers don’t have a normal schedule. There’s no summer break. No set hours. And no job too small.

They became an educator not by chance. But by choice. To impact students. Build relationships. Impart passion for different agricultural careers—communications, farming, engineering. And so much more.

They’re mentors, leaders and encouragers.

And today, on National Teach Ag Day, they inspire others to join their field. Because there’s a shortage of agricultural science teachers. And it’s a career worth pursuing.

But there’s some things that every ag teacher, no matter where they teach, will attest to. Even if they don’t teach you that in college.

10. They win the award for “Most Diversified Teacher.” And become the second opinion for their colleagues. Plumbing. Electrical. Maintenance. Horticulture. And how to treat sick animals. They can answer all the questions.

9. Crying at the FFA banquet is acceptable. They won’t tell you if those are tears of joy. Or tears of sadness. You have to guess.

8. There are five seasons. Summer, fall, winter, spring. And stock show season.

7. They didn’t invent corduroy. But they sure know how to make it look good.

6. Need a joke? They have plenty of corny ones. Like “What did the mama cow say to the baby cow? It’s pasture bed time.”

5. They collect owls. Because as the advisor, they take “here by the owl” seriously. And they never sleep.

4. Weight break questions? They can recite the weight breaks for the last three years for their county livestock show. And all the majors. Now that’s a lot of numbers!

3. Stock show crud. It’s a real sickness. And dreaded more than the flu.

2. They’re proficient in fruit and meat sales. And families, friends and neighbors avoid them during that time of year.

1. Lip sync? Not ag teachers. Spend that much time on the road with students, and they learn the words to every popular song—rap, pop, rock, country. Then sing them with gusto! Much to the disdain of their students.

They’re more than agricultural science teachers. They’re molding the future of agriculture. And having fun doing it.