Slice of Life Tuesday: Of gardening and teaching

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Last weekend, my husband and I spent hours and hours choosing sites, preparing the ground, and planting everything from rhubarb to blue berry bushes.  Each young plant came with a few general instructions about how to go about this endeavor, and a note of caution: these plants were young, it would be several years before we could expect any blossoms or fruits.

We knew this. We were planting for the future, for our children and their children, and for who ever else may own our farm years and years from now.  Still, we took care to research what was needed for each variety of plant, to find the spot that would give them the best chance to thrive, and to prepare the soil with what each needed.  And, in the weeks and months and years ahead, we will tend to them.

Teacher nerd that I am, I (of course!) was making many connections between gardening and teaching.  We plant for the future, and we teach for the future.  We plant hoping that, with the right kind of nurturance, things will take root, grow bit by bit, blossom here and there, and eventually thrive and bloom with consistency, year after year.  We teach, day after day, with that same faith and hope.

The end of each gardening day, of collecting assorted gardening tools and storing away the bone meal, peat moss, and the like,  felt very much like the end of my teaching day -collecting  notebooks, storing away our pencils and pens, and restoring order to our classroom library.

In these last few weeks of the school year, I want to hold on to each moment of our classroom lives.  I see so much growth already, and yet I know that I will not be there to witness the flourishing.  Soon, and ever after, my kids will be tended to by other teaching hands.   They are ready to go…we have done good work this year, and they are prepared for the journey ahead…

…but I have begun missing them already.


17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Of gardening and teaching

  1. Love those words – “I have begun missing them already.” It was clear to me that I missed my students more than they missed me. But oh, someone will be reaping the rewards of you and your students work this year.

  2. Gardening and teaching are very similar endeavors because in both you are “cultivating” for the future. I am moved by yours and your husband’s efforts to plan and bring to fruition a garden that will be enjoyed by the generations to follow. What a lovely, generous gift you are giving them, while demonstrating for them how to make the best use of your time here on earth. A beautiful post.

  3. Yourpost reminded me of the wonderful book Mrs. Spitzer’s Garden. Teaching and gardening have so much in common, it’s no wonder so many of us love both. Have a wonderful summer!

  4. Such a perfect analogy, Tara! I enjoyed seeing your progress in planting at the farm over the weekend on Instagram. My husband and I have planted many fruit trees on our property too. We plan to be here awhile, but also know that whoever lives here next will be glad that we started the orchards for them. Enjoy your last days with your students!

  5. A great analogy. What we do on a daily basis is really just part of a long term process…just like gardening. There are things that need to be done today, but a garden is meant to last a long time.

  6. The research, the thought, the hard work and the dream for the future is so important when you plan a garden. Planting them mindfully and tending as they grow is exactly what we want for our students.

  7. There was a person in our family long ago who measured the distance and planted two trees in just an “exact” way. When asked what he planned, he said he was hoping that someday, someone would hang a hammock there and love being outside as much as he has. Planning for the future, yes, for your farm’s pleasure, and for the students’ muscle! And yes, once a teacher, all things apply, don’t they? Happy final weeks!

  8. A priest once told me, “You plant the seed today and leave the blooming to God.” I love the parallels you drew between gardening and teaching. We’ve had two solid days of rain. This makes me think about how important the rain is to the things we have planted. In your comparison, what is the rain?

  9. Great analogies between gardening and teaching. Good luck with your plantings – both in the student and blueberry form! We have a home fruit orchard (many types of fruits but including blueberries) and love it. Your children and grandchildren will too!

  10. Love the connections you made between gardening and teaching — true in so many ways. Your farm and classroom are two destinations I would love to visit some day –both sound magical!!

  11. Tara, I laughed when I read your line about being a teacher nerd. As I read through the beginning of your piece, I started making the comparison between gardening and teaching so call me teacher nerd, too. It is great to read one of your posts again.

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