Writing my way through the school year!

I attended a conference today called,  “Diversity Exchange:Learning from One Another.”  The keynote speaker was supposed to be Reginald Weaver, former NEA president,but unfortunately he is ill. Merwyn Scott, did a good job standing in for Mr.Weaver at the last-minute.

Something Mr.Scott said, as he shared his thoughts, stood out to me. He said that when he was young he was a “coaster”, he did just enough to get by. He was dormant, sitting in the soil, going nowhere, not growing. His parents kept at him, did not give up, but he had his own plan for how things should be.

Fortunately for him, throughout his school years, he ran across “seed planters”, teachers who were interested in his germination.  They ‘watered’ him, provided nourishment, and allowed him to grow, to flourish in the light, which made him the person he is today.   He called out each of their names, recalling  each teacher that helped him to grow. Each one that helped push him out of the “soil” he was buried in.

So, I ask, which one are you? Are you a “seed killer?” Do you use words that demean your students? Does the job seem burdensome, and you no longer feel like being there, and your students can tell? Are your students bored out of their mind from meaningless work with no real world application? Sometimes, this job is so difficult, that we might not even realize that our actions are stunting the growth of our “seeds.”

Hopefully, you are a “seed planter.” You are that teacher that Mr.Scott spoke of. The teacher who nourishes his/her  students, helping them to sprout, to germinate? I see a “seed planter” as the teacher who  strives to meet the needs of their students, emotionally, physically , and mentally. Fertilizing them with our passion for teaching, and our strong urge to see them succeed.

Yes, when you have a class of 25 or more seeds to sow, that is a lot of gardening! 🙂 But we do it every day, year after year, we manage to reach our students, apply our green thumb, and watch them grow!

Comments on: "Educators: Are You a Seed Planter or a Seed Killer?" (10)

  1. mistergesl said:

    Thank you for this, I really needed to hear that right now.

  2. ncarroll24 said:

    Thanks for sharing this – love the analogy! Hoping that I am a seed planter & will remember this to make sure that I’m nurturing and taking care of my seeds each day!

    • You are welcome. I try to be a seed planter most of the time. I know I do not always succeed, though. But, I know I am most of the time!:)

    • i love this analogy as well. As a first year teacher, I try very hard to be a seed planter (even if it wasn’t my first year I would still try). I have come to realize though, that it’s not so much about the subject your teaching, but how you make the kids feel through encouragement and respect. I think they will learn most from that.

  3. I am a seed killer. I spoke my mind and killed the weeds of entitlement, empty self esteem and vacuous entertainment they think they are owed.

    • You are not necessarily a seed killer, that would be more of a weed killer. Unless of course, you did it in a way that killed their love of learning, then, that would be a seed killer.

      • Thanks for the kind words. I love learning and any inkling of curiousity that I noticed in my students was something I tried to foster. I just could not compete with their interest in the opposite sex.

  4. Interestingly, there was a long running FaceBook thread about high school teachers in my home town. The question was posed (and I paraphrase very loosely), “Which teacher did the most damage?” Use your imaginations and you can probably come up with more ‘creative’ ways to pose this question.

    Ask an you shall receive. As expected, the ‘dirt’ came out and you could tell that even decades later, many people – now well into their adulthood – have not healed from those teacher-student encounters.

    As for myself, I was that frustrating kind of student – the kid who could have done so much better academically, but preferred to get attention with his mouth. Nothing mean – just REALLY annoying! Thankfully though, one teacher absolutely REFUSED to see me that way. He saw my potential and focused on that ONLY, repeated without showing any sign of fatigue that I COULD do it; that he believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself.

    I’m not sure I could join the other classmates in the mud-slinging. I know what kind of kid I was; and now my 8 year-old step-daughter is a carbon copy fulfilling the prophesy of one of my teachers, “Russ, some day you’re gonna have a kid JUST LIKE YOU!” LOL

    The teacher I remember today – 41 years later – is the incredible man who planted the seed of possibility; who had a PROFOUND and FAR REACHING effect on my life as well as all the lives I touch, because I tell this story often to anyone who will listen!

    Thank you Mr. McGowan – my math teacher at North Andover, MA from junior high through high school, 1966-1971!

    • Thank you for sharing this Russ! That’s what the speaker was talking about, he knew he wasn’t the kid that teachers’ dreams are made of. But there were a few teachers who were determined to look past that, and give him what he needed to grow, and look how he turned out! Thank you again!:)

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