The Gardener and the Chef #sol19
February 19, 2019
Happiness is cultivating your garden- Voltaire
exact quote at the end of Candide,
“All that is very well,” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.”
In my year of reflection, I keep my journal close, listening like a writer perhaps. Today, I was watching the Netflix show, Chef’s Table-France, and considering how the classroom is like a kitchen and the teachers are similar to great chefs. Taking the amazing materials that show up in the world, with the students, from the synergy of thought and creating daily masterpieces. Some the beautiful oops, some works in progress. So if the role of the teacher is the master chef, what is my role as a specialist?
One gardener said about his relationship to the chef, my job is to give the chef what (he) needs. Give the chef what the chef needs. The chef said that having your own garden, your own gardener, changes your way of seeing things.
So here I am, the gardener. What is the garden that needs tending? The produce that will be presented to the chef each day? What will grow in the plot of proverbial land that is that space between the literacy center, the library, and the classroom?
A gardener is a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living say Merriam-Webster. Gardens take time. Gardens take careful planning. Gardens necessitate thoughtful tending and attention to details… most of the time. I have had a messy garden or two that produced the most glorious yields. Some completely and utterly serendipitously.
But this garden, this garden of literacy curriculum and resources, of advice and suggestion, of borrowed and tended, is cultivated mostly with care. This year of reflection, I created the book bins with a teacher’s heart, their words whispering in my ears. The students fingers imagined as they looked and read and shared each book. This year of reflection, I touched each book in the garden of the literacy center imagining who might use this book and how, stopping to read and think. Organizing them to suit a literacy plan fresh from the pages not quite dry.
When I pluck those books from the shelves, pages tabbed or copied, and carry them bundled in my arms down the hall to a classroom, I’m aware they won’t all be loved or used. Some will be returned to their places to wait for another chance. But some… Some will be savored. Changed. Created into new ideas that I haven’t thought of by that master chef and her crew. Some of those books may change thinking for the future of a reader or a listener. Some will be returned to again and again to show a thought, a technique, a character, a story arc.
Some will join with other books, some for children and others teacher resources to change the course of that classroom, that teacher and those students (student) not just for today, but later, they will remember that book and that feeling and those words and say… that was the moment, everything changed.
So am I a specialist? Perhaps, I do specialize in words. Am I a coach? I do encourage. What am I most? I am the gardener.
Looking forward to our month of writing. Join with us. More information at Two Writing Teachers.