Thursday, January 30, 2020

Following Directions, or Teachers Are VASTLY Underpaid

I thought it was pretty simple::

  • Take a plastic cup (no, it didn't matter if you took a red on e or a blue one)
  • Use the big Sharpie to write your name on the cup
  • Make sure Grandma Suzi pokes a hole in the bottom of your cup
  • Fill your cup with soil from a yellow bag
  • Come back and I'll give you an onion or 3 seeds
I thought it was pretty obvious:
  • The cups were big and bright 20 oz ribbed plastic
  • If your name isn't on the cup, how will you know it is yours?
  • The hole is either there, or not
  • There were two, bright yellow, 50 qt bags in the garden... and it's not that big a space
  • FILL.... not Put a Little Bit
  • You are not done until you have planted something
I'll grant that the hole in the bottom of the cup was counter-intuitive when they were supposed to fill it up, but the hole was made by a small, pointed pruner, not a lot of soil would bleed through, and the water would make its way out of the cup so the plant didn't moulder and die from drowning.  I was happy to explain all of that.

What made me want to tear out my hair were questions like these:
  • Did you poke a hole in my cup yet?  (Um, you are holding it.... look and see.)
  • Where's the yellow bag?  (It's right there, almost as tall as you are.)
  • Do you have a tool I can use? (No, the cup itself is the tool.  So are your hands. The big shovel is not really necessary for this.)
  • Is this too much water? (All my talks about plants not being fish were, apparently, for naught.)
I said nothing, of course, just smiled and pointed and answered and reassured.  But my brain was having a wonderful time answering them, even if my mouth did nothing but recite the same things, over and over and over and over again.

Of course, there were those who listened and followed directions and proudly showed off their finished projects before picking up the rakes and doing the work that earned them a plant.  There were those who answered the questions for me, neither patronizing nor abusing their classmates.  There were even those who said Thank You.... well, there was one of those..... and he got a special Grandma Suzi note with 2 hearts and the word POLITE written with that big black Sharpie.

I have them in 6 groups following one another for 20 minutes once a week.  I'm exhausted afterward, even though I'm always well fed and wearing comfy clothes and can sit down whenever I must.  

Just thinking about running a classroom from 7:45 in the morning through the early afternoon is tiring.  Getting up and doing it 5 days in a row ?  These educators are VASTLY underpaid.  

I challenge anyone who disagrees to try it.  You can start in my garden, if you'd like.


  1. You're right. Much too hard for the money they get. High school kids are easier, I must say. Elementary kids are like chickens.

    1. And yet they walk around with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts.


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