Seeing the sun return, such an important part of my year. Every Saturday morning that slice of sunshine angles in a few inches more. I don’t see the sun much at all in the winter, leaving for work these days before dawn, working all day in a windowless classroom, and exiting my school at dusk. That along with finding out that we are not allowed to plant a school garden makes me feel that my years at this school will be numbered on one hand.
That’s right, no garden. And new pressure to move more quickly, acknowledging that I only see might high school students twice a week at most. So how could there be time to dig, plant, water, and look closely?
I’d hoped to work it with my Friday middle school group, and scheduled a Horticulture and Soil Science section, and a Gardening section–one to be focused on science and the other on practical skills and hands-on. When I fund out I was not allowed to [put in any kind of garden but might be able to do a container garden, I realized that I just didn’t have it in me, being in my first year and already working 16 hour days, to try to gather pots, soil, and set up the regular irrigation and maintenance that would be needed for that, so I informed the principal that I’d have the students make a choice among options I was comfortable with about the class topic. Not even any time to tell the Friday coordinator or parents.
We had a great time with the process of deciding as a class. So much fun, with me giving a shpeal on all the coolest ideas I could think of, them adding a few, then top-three votes, speeches, debate, and a re-vote. Talk about engagement! It came down to Stretch-Walk-Run (getting from very little running to a 5k), Games, and French. Hard to break the tie, too, but when I said that the ability to speak French made one attractive, and that we could combine French and Games, and move a lot too, everyone went for French. In the following days only one parent complained, because I’d taken her donation for the gardening class that now was not to be. But I explained that we could still use it for Horticulture, if that was all right. She said that was fine, and though her son hadn’t been planning to learn French, she thought it would be mind-opening for him.
French! I was actually surprised that came out on top, as it was a long shot I threw in there. We started right away, with a few basic greetings some counting. Fortunately, they know nothing, and I’m fluent enough and have taken enough other language classes not to have to do much planning.