As of March this year I’m a teacher. I teach young teenagers horticulture. When they attend my class they learn a bit of theory in a classroom, but soon we go outside and work the land. In the cold and wet months the kids will learn how to cook with me in a kitchen classroom. In the past months I’ve been practicing and growing as a teacher. During this time many kids have asked me why I do this. At this time I still don’t have a good answer for them. I know why I went in this direction of teaching, but why did I get into the whole nature and green world in the first place?
I took that turn when I was 16 years old. I want to find a satisfactory answer that will transcend my passion in a way that 12 year olds will be able to understand. Because inevitably I hope that these kids will grow up caring for the environment they live in. Also I want to find a red thread that can weave through my lessons to strengthen the answer to the question of why I teach horticulture. So today I’ll take you on my journey searching for the answer and the red thread.
At 16 I was choosing between becoming a gardener and a vet nurse. So these are both jobs that fit within the green world. Why was I so attracted to these fields? I think it simply was that I was feeling myself there. More confident than in the human world. I’ve always been more relaxed in nature than in the city, although I definitely didn’t see that at that age.
So in short I could say that I am, and always have been, at home in nature.
So that leads me to the question. Why do I enjoy teaching these kids horticulture? First and foremost I love to talk about nature to anyone who is willing to listen. However, they might not be so willing, as they just have to be in my class. So if I can make them enthusiastic about what I teach they might end up actually listening to my message. Often they don’t see the reason for being in this class, I’ve often had the question: “Why are we learning this, I will never use this ever again.”
That has been the hardest question for me to answer. One coworker uses the connection to the outside world. When they will be a bit older and work at a company for some extra money, it will be useful to know how you should behave. I think it’s a great side effect, but I don’t think I like that answer as my own.
Nature sustains each and every person. It heals us, it feeds us, it gives us oxygen, it makes us grow. Without nature we wouldn’t be here. The food that is on our plates is grown with the help of people. It’s amazing that nature takes care of most of it, but if we want efficient results, a helping hand is important. With me they will learn how much effort goes into growing a seedling all the way to the food that is presented on the plate. There are a lot of cool things to know about the plants that make us thrive. Knowing that might change your mind about what you will actually put on your plate. But what’s in it for them that they know this now? Because that’s all they care about at that age.
I’ve been racking my brain for a good answer here, but I fear that it indeed comes down to what my coworker has as an answer. Also I did find some extra answers, but also these don’t fit within the story that I want to tell. So these are the answers that I can give the kids when they ask.
- You’re learning how to behave when you’re working your very first jobs, because certain behavior really isn’t allowed in the workplace.
- You’re learning how to work in bigger or smaller teams, because in your future studies and jobs you have to work as a team.
- Together with many other classes in school, this class can help you discover what you’d like to do when you grow up, but also what you really don’t like.
So in conclusion. The red thread will be the process of growing a seed into a fresh meal. And why I teach this topic is because I love anything that has to do with nature and I love sharing this passion with others.