One challenge I wasn't expecting when I signed on to garden teaching was dealing with adults that just don't get it. Its easy to be outside with our awesome student gardeners and bountiful butterflies and forget that there are actually adults that just don't get the whole school garden concept.
These adults live with a variety of misconceptions that concern me as an Earth worker. School is for school work, not digging in the the dirt. Budgets and financial forecasts are suffering, not bursting with bounty like the spinach we just harvested. Time is wasted with wondering about bees when deadlines and test scores scream for immediate action. And no way, no how, can schools possibly afford to pay for programs that give so much non-tangible knowledge.
Our planet can't afford such extreme adult blindness. Humanity is in a pinch that can't wait for colleges of education to deem learning about natural systems in hands-on, real-world settings like school gardens important enough to weave into the curriculum of those learning how to teach. Poor people, Island Nations, and anything that breathes doesn't have the two decades it will take to teach teachers about nature and sustainability issues and how to make that vital, food-providing information available to students. We can't wait for these newly-trained, college-degreed teachers to get jobs in schools not yet hiring.
School boards, administrative powers, and Hawaii's Board of Education are famous for disregarding concepts that don't come from their own thought centers. Heaven forbid that outsiders have ideas about how or what to instruct children to produce competent adults of the future. Math must be learned from worksheets and text books in closed rooms with plenty of electric ventilation and flourescent lighting not outside, with actual examples of real measuring, numbering, and mathmatical wizardry. So now here I am treading that fine line between introducing radical concepts like studying the science of a compost pile but enabling enough buy-in as to appear that the whole thing wasn't my idea but something that arose from within or is a new twist on an existing practice.
All the while, school adults are unified in messages to tell the kids: listen to others, be courteous, take turns, work as a team. Some adults, even in the fuzzy-touchy charter school world of team management systems and alternative education talk courtesy and sharing and trasparency up front but can't resist bullying to victory, selective listening, and setting agendas for personal priority.
More adults need to momentarily put down computers and corporate curriculum and take me up on the standing invitation to come explore our school's fascinating gardens. Perhaps grown-ups could find the wonder students so easily identify with, listen to, and learn from.
We could teach math, writing, and science and save the world along the way.
Krista Joan says:
My mission is to teach, train, and testify in resistance to the white supremacy of my ancestors. My personal choices are political, powerful, and practical. Let's trash waste.