Thursday, November 1, 2012

If schools are gardens of children - I want to plant seeds

Schools have been likened to gardens. It’s well known that the German educator Friedrich Frobel coined the term “kindergarten” - which means “children’s garden”.  If that’s the case, then teachers can be likened to gardeners.  The metaphor has much to recommend it - but recently I’ve been asking myself do I do anything but weed the garden? Do I actually plant any seeds?

For classroom teachers the answer to this is easy - of course teachers plant seeds. They do it every day, in every lesson.  But the answer is not so obvious for educational administrators. Sure, we work hard to ensure that the garden has everything it needs, and we support our “gardeners” to the best of our ability.  But it is the “gardeners” who actually plant the seeds.

So today I left the paperwork for 15 minutes  and sat on the floor while a grade one child read me a story.   I did a lot of other work today - including some significant weeding and supporting of the “gardeners”. I dealt with a lot of students - but mostly “weeding” or perhaps “pruning” might be more apt. I did a lot of good things.  But as I walk towards the car park thinking of the highlight of my day it was the 15 minutes I spent on the floor hearing a child read.

I had planted a seed.