I love the idea of gardens, flowers and the like for their simple beauty, and analogous potential in explaining education.
Here is a blog I wrote about The Garden
So here are some thoughts about the meadow of flowers and how this image captures my perception of change in education in the mind of this 5 + year seasoned veteran. So then a story adapted from a parable I was taught.
A farmer had some seeds for wildflowers that he wanted to scatter across his land as a memorial to his late wife. As he sowed many of the seeds fell on the soil that he had prepared with care in advance. The flowers that grew were among some of the most beautiful the man had ever seen. He smiled knowing his wife would have loved them. That thought made him happy. While he sowed, some of the seed fell on the path, did not find purchase and was gobbled up by waiting birds and opportunistic rodents. Still other seed fell among ground that was rocky and full of weeds and although some growth was visible, the wildflowers were choked off from reaching their potential. Whether the man knew or saw what happened to the rest of the seeds he’s sown makes me think of change in education.
We are in the business of growing minds (teachers and students). If we prepared the soil, plant with care, water, feed, weed and prune we will see the fruits of our labours – that is the Meadow of Flowers.When I think of the potential that can happen I know that each step is worth the effort. Some might argue that flowers are fragile and temporary at most, but education allows to remember how to bring them back, plant new ones, develop weather resistant species or to move inside to a green house to cultivate and enjoy year round. Others will resemble opportunists who swoop down to grab any and all they can from our profession while giving nothing back in return. Our job becomes that of guardians as much as gardeners in our schools…I mean fields.
Perhaps that is the analogy of school to draw from this? We are gardeners in greenhouses who are preparing the soil of intellect, planting roots of empathy, pruning unwanted growth and harvesting awesome. Whether I get to see the blooms after they first burst into light, I know that I did everything possible to allow them to brighten the world they bloom in.
WARNING!!! Cynical views below (from speculation not experience)
Conversely, a worst case scenario of what often happens is more like a mushroom factory than a meadow. Many times educators are covered in steamy piles of regulation and apathy and in turn are covering their students with more of the same. The end result producing a homogeneously flavourless form – the mushroom. Much of what mushrooms grow underneath makes good fertilizer for a meadow, but it must be portioned sparingly at best. If I am in the business to yield mushrooms, then I’m going to law school.