Teachers are gardeners

/ 5 January 2014

Read this. It’s about K12 education, but it’s applicable far beyond that context. My favorite quote from her essay:

Teachers are called to teach because they, like me, believe in potential. We are gardeners. We can plant the seeds, water, fertilize, but then we wait. Students don’t always grow under our watch; it may not be until years later that something we said or did takes root. As a result, it is impossible to hold teachers accountable for what amounts to students’ physical development. I cannot make them grow any faster; I can only provide the foundation for them to grow upon. I can provide opportunities for students to stretch and reach for the sun, I can provide them a scaffold upon which to rest on their way up, but it is up to them to try and it is up to our leaders to support us and our decisions. Like the growth we expect from our students, policy needs to be driven from the ground up, starting with teachers in order to provide the supports we need.

She also quotes Clifford Stroll, who has said something I say, too: "Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, and understanding is not wisdom.”

We, in theological education, need to be about wisdom. We are shortchanging our communities if we settle for anything less...