Planting Seeds and Growing FuturesRich Stigall
The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery. – Mark Van Doren
At the heart of education is the teacher. Teachers have been equated to gardeners, architects and artists. A teacher sees into the soul of each student, plants seeds of promise and nourishes their tender growth. The art of teaching is creating a fertile environment for growth and discovery.
Enter Mary, a science teacher, gardener and nurturer of children of all ages. She is a true seed sower in more ways than one. What better gift to bring from her state of Kansas than the science and art of its Sunflower! To her and our team’s delight, we discovered a wonderful first year Pathways student who shared our enthusiasm for gardens. Jeff shared that growing up in his family meant planting gardens and weeding, hoeing, and harvesting crops. This allowed his parents to feed their children good, nutritious food. They lacked nothing and were never hungry because their family garden sustained them. Raising their own food was a delicious way of life. Jeff bemoaned the fact that today, many Haitians no longer plant family gardens and instead depend on others for their food.
Jeff had recently completed a short course in agriculture. He was thrilled to learn we were planning to talk with the teachers about using growing projects in their classrooms. Mary then enlisted Jeff’s help to present her lesson.
Sunflowers were new to our Haitian friends. They appreciated the beauty of the tall growing, bright flower. They were further intrigued when we pulled out a large bag of sunflower seeds. They had never seen them and were curious. When we opened the bag of seeds to share—they were perplexed when we put one in our mouth. We demonstrated how to crack them between our teeth, spit out the shells, and savor the salty seed. Our friends’ appetite for learning grew. The universal language of laughter and smiles spoke of the tasty treat of sunflower seeds. A small celebration of cracking, spitting and giggling ensued. They were now eager to plant their own seeds and nurture a school garden! We were able to give all the school Principals a variety of fruit and vegetable seeds to plant.
Their enthusiasm continued as Jeff shared his personal story of his family garden and the wonderful food that was available at his doorstep. He passionately preached the value of Haitians growing their own food rather than hungrily depending upon aid from others. Jeff is excited to pass this love and knowledge on to the children. He is willing to go to the schools and teach how to plant and why it is important and enjoyable. His passion for this was contagious to all.
This young man’s passionate testimony was teaching at its best—he indeed was personally assisting all of us in the art of discovery. Discovery of sunflower seeds but so much more…seeds of promise and fruitfulness. Seeds to sow and grow a school garden…a flourishing harvest in the hearts of the children.
For more information on how to invest in our Educator Exchanges please contact Marsha Campbell at [email protected]