I expect the world from my students and myself each and everyday. I live with our failures to meet these expectations because my hopes remain. Last night at parents night, I tell those who enter my classroom about my hopes. Those parents, who don't venture in to what one student calls the Stratz Lair, have to be satisfied with the view from the sidewalk outside my window. Maybe they hear the jazz piano playing of Marian McPartland.
I see some linger looking at the aloes. Maybe they hear hope in my voice.
Early on I speak of hopes for a young man to fight off the OCD intensified fears which slows him down so much. My desire is for him to see that jumping into something, even if it turns out terribly, is a better life than being stuck in front of a blank physics assignment.
But most of the evening is spent with parents whose children attend one of my horticulture classes. I speak of the year they will experience, the career ed goals I will focus on, and I also answer a question expressed by one mother, "Is this the best place for my nearly-old-enough-to-graduate son to be?" I don't know for sure, so I say something like this.....
I would love for all of my students to develop the passion, skill, talent, strength, and luck to graduate into a job working with plants. But I would also be well pleased with them gardening at home, caring for an aloe in a sunny kitchen window, cooking with fresh peppers, or being stopped while walking by a patch of globe amaranths and say, 'how beautiful, I grew them once.' I hope that in experiencing horticulture they will learn that with compassion, life can flourish. By the end I have convinced myself and a parent or two that horticulture is far from a waste of time.
The parents leave. I turn off the jazz, say goodnight to some friends as we head to our cars, and head home.