Yesterday I was doing some gardening. As I harvested, and pruned, and cleared dry leaves, and otherwise received joy from a much- loved hobby, I realized how much gardening is like teaching and learning. What does gardening have to do with education, you ask? Let me tell you.
There was a plant that I was working on that needed a lot of attention. There were leaves to clear and shaping to be done. At one point I thought I had done all there was to do, but then I shifted my angle. And guess what? I realized there were things I missed, things that still needed my time and attention, and an opportunity to improve what I had thought had reached its peak.
As I reflected on this experience later in the day I realized just how many similarities there are to teaching and learning for and about our children with working memory challenges. For in gardening we often think we have “caught” every weed, cleared every leaf or harvested every ripe fruit.
In education we do the same- we often look at a student from only one angle and from that perspective we think we “know them”. Know their needs, their challenges, even their abilities and expected response levels. If given an opportunity to change our angle, though, our perspective can change and we may find the opportunity to realize things we missed- distractions to remove from the learning environment, new ways to embed supports, and an increase in expectations to be had, resulting in new growth we may not have expected.
As so many of us find ourselves in new territory with Virtual Learning, we could share our despair or we can put on those “gardening gloves”, know it is OK not to know, but not to keep from changing our angle. If we can keep the process of discovery open, we may not be where we thought we would be, but we may discover things beyond what would have been possible had things stayed the same. Happy gardening :)
Kristin Enriquez has dedicated her life's work to children with learning challenges and helping people work together to realize each student's potential. She is the proud mother of 4 children, one of which has Down syndrome. She is not an experienced blogger, or a professional website creator, but she does "tell it like it is," is a collector of facts, and loves sharing the amazing experiences and knowledge that have found her along the way,