Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Of Johnny Appleseed and Teaching

The legends of Johnny Appleseed have him criss-crossing the northeast barefoot and tossing appleseeds into the wind. Wherever he went, apple trees grew. He cared deeply about the growth of apples, but the legends don't have him tending the trees and seeing them bear fruit.

Today I felt like the Johnny Appleseed of legends. Standing in my classroom, planting seeds for literary growth I wondered if the fruit would ever show. Who knows which students will take the seed and allow it to spring up into a healthy tree? I had the feeling today that my fields might end up barren--perhaps too rocky with turmoil at home--perhaps too sandy with the whim of a beach.

It's comforting to know that some students will get it, even if it is a year or more later. This weekend a former student sent me an e-mail thanking me preparing her for college. She apologized for complaining about all the tough assignments. That tree will grow.

And then again, what if my new administration with all of their checking in and scoring my lesson plans on a rubric forget that even the best objectives sometimes only offer a seed. Or that sometimes, you do just have to throw the seeds into the wind and let them scatter.

Which brought me to a follow up thought about my lesson plan poll. I need end objectives for a unit like I need a destination on a trip. But, I also understand that on a trip, like the one I took from Seattle to Connecticut this summer, there are many places to stop that don't always get planned on.


At 8:27 PM , Blogger CompSciLion said...

These places are called "teachable moments" and they absolutely cannot be planned for; neither, as you well know, can they be overlooked.

I can't say I understand how you are coping in your stringent outcome based environment. I teach in a small Christian private school where we are encouraged to take advantage of those "detours" from the main agenda if it serves a higher purpose.

It makes you wonder if those who are in "power" truly remember what it was like to be a teacher called to the profession.


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