teachers are like farmers

Teachers are like farmers

An old friend and I reconnected over coffee and a conversation on parenting, education, and farming. Being on the intersection of all, I feel all of them blend into each other beautifully!

I reconnected with an old friend recently. We had worked together as educators a long time back. The conversation went from parenting to education to our recent switch to farming with Urban Farms.

“How was the switch from education to farming?”, she asked.

In an instant, my response was, “Actually the two are quite the same.”

Just like farmers, teachers cultivate, feed, water, and nurture.

Students are like seeds and as teachers, all we can do is prepare the field for them. We create a safe environment for them, give them the knowledge of what we know, nurture them, and prepare them to learn what they will need to know in their own time. We hope every student of ours will succeed in life. 

As a farmer, I do the same. I prepare the field, sow the seeds, give it the care and nutrients (knowledge) I can and then hope that every seed will germinate and every plant will flower and fruit.

preparing the soil

There is a quote that has been like a guide ever since I started working with children 17 years ago. And it beautifully expresses how good teachers are like good farmers.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.”

Alexander Den Heijer 

Farmers enjoy watching young seedlings grow and bloom. They don’t blame the seed when it doesn’t germinate or the plant when it doesn’t flower. They fix the environment – does it need more manure? does it need shade? sun? some water? They ask themselves – “How can I give my plants the most favourable growing conditions so that they thrive?” 

When a student is struggling, a teacher will give him/her extra attention. They look for signs if something is bothering them. more sunshine? less sunshine? more water? less water? A good teacher nurtures so that children learn how to learn.

Every student is different and a good teacher creates an environment where every child can thrive. Farming is not different. A tomato plant needs different care than a chikoo tree and both can thrive on the same farm with a little personalized attention.

Curiosity Club: Going around the world with books!

In the end, one has to trust and let go. Every student, every plant will have its life and will grow in its way and may not in the way you plan for it. What I have learned as a teacher and a farmer is to celebrate the time with the children and with the plants on the farm while I am there. 

What gives me joy as well as butterflies is the opportunity I now have to combine the two – being an educator and a farmer. Creating spaces for children to “grow” in and with nature. 

learning with nature

We have just started on that journey, looking forward to see how it unfolds.

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