Sunday, May 25, 2008

first two questions about my job

don't know why I talk so little about work, but I was asked to answer these questions so here is a heaping spoonful...

short description of my program... The main focus of the program is the vegetable and herb garden located at the greenhouse. The students and I started the garden nine summers ago with four beds and it now has 25 beds which are 2o feet long by four feet wide. We grow our veggies from seed. Some started inside (peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, basil) others sown directly (radishes, lettuce, cilantro, squash). The students play a major role from the beginning as we select seeds from catalogs, plant seeds, pot seedlings, prepare beds, transplant, weed, water, fertilize, harvest, sell across campus, and cook with veggies. They truly get to experience it from start to finish, a full cycle and thus become connected to the natural world and its seasons. For the last two years we have incorporated bread baking during the winter in which we use dried herbs from our garden.

We also maintain a flower garden, many of which we start from seed. The students also learn about a variety of house plants which are kept inside my classroom. Our time is limited but we do manage some other tasks around campus and respond to calls to weed areas and last fall we helped plant mums around the school on a day volunteers came to Pathway. We also rake leaves across campus which we use as mulch.

goals of the program... For all my students I expect to see them become more employable whether or not they choose to work with plants. I have seen students become active gardeners at home, become curious about the nature of plants, understand how plants function, feel confident to care for a house plant, and eat a greater variety of veggies/herbs. I hope that those who don't go on to garden, will one day see a globe amaranth, snapdragon, zinnia, or marigold and smile as they remember growing a flower garden at school. It is also a great thing for them to know how their food is grown and know how to do it themselves. They will be reminded of this every time they eat a pepper or carrot. They now know the great flavor of a fresh locally grown vegetable. They do all of this while learning how to work as a team, increasing their physical stamina, and learning how to care for living thing.

4 comments:

  1. I take it your students are much older than those with whom I work. While one would like to hope life will yet bring to my kids maturity and an ability to function within society in some manner, it is hard to imagine what sort of vocation that might be for most. There are ten this year in our unit and I'd venture to say six of those will always require some sort of assistance. It gives me much pleasure, therefore, to envision your own mission.

    I was in Philly once, by the way, my final point of debarking from the Navy back in 1970. May 8th, 1970, to be exact. I was utterly shocked, after less than two years overseas, to discover a motel room for my family and I was going to cost me thirty bucks! That as twice the price I paid just outside D.C. when we left to go to Rota, Spain.....

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  2. most are between the ages of 16-21, and because it is based on their desire to be there and nothing else... I have students who are 10 grade levels apart in reading together.

    hope the place in Philly was nice... must have been a strange set of emotions facing a new life outside the Navy

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  3. Wayne, your program sounds great. The hands-on work must be good for them too, eh?

    Mich

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  4. it has been good for them too, not always perfect, but for the most part they seem to want to be there.

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