4 hours ago
Friday, December 13, 2019
Poetry Friday: Reflections on Gardening, Growing, Teaching
In the midst of these thoughts, I read Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's post from last week about planting bulbs in November. Six hundred bulbs, to be precise. Can you even imagine how wonderful that's going to be in the spring? Amy's title was "Choose Good Work, Write About It." That started me thinking about a poem I wrote two years ago comparing teaching to gardening. Here it is. I talked about how growing is mysterious. We do our part, like Amy, but then there's the magic that takes place out of sight.
As part of the self-evaluation I had my seventh and eighth grade students do at the end of this quarter, I asked them to write about something they had learned during this time that they wouldn't have otherwise. That's due today, so I've only read a few of the responses, but so far I've found they learned about how hard it is to do your work when the external structure is taken away. One said he learned about how to keep his mom from being mad at him: by doing his assignments! One girl simply wrote that she learned to be grateful.
Here's a poem that came out of all this ruminating:
Distance Learning, Fall 2019
This growing season,
it felt as though I took the seeds to the window
and just flung them out,
and the wind blew them away,
or the birds ate them,
or they landed on the road and got trampled.
Did any even hit soil, I wondered,
as, each day, I opened the window
and chucked out another bucketful of seeds?
And so I am happy
to see, here and there,
plants springing up.
I don’t know what they are,
if they came from the seeds in my bucket
or from somewhere else entirely.
I don’t know how they’ll do next week
or next month
or at the harvest.
All I know is that I didn’t hoard the seeds
in brightly colored Tupperware.
I sent them out.
Liz Steinglass has the roundup today.