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A Metaphor for Teachers – by Dr. Deb Marciano, Early Childhood & Special Education

SunflowersThese amazingly beautiful sunflowers were ALL planted the same day, getting the same sun, rain, wind, and temperature. By nature, they are designed to turn toward the sun as it moves. Yet, some flowers are facing full on, some to the left, some to the right, some even away from where I stand on this Roman highway on a gorgeous summer day. The farmer cannot control more than planting the seeds after having prepared the soil. They grow as they will, some taller, some wider.

If these sunflowers are not exactly the same, having experienced the exact same conditions as all the others, how can we possibly expect our students to be the same as one another, with all the variables they have experienced long before the time they arrive at our classroom doors? There is diversity everywhere.

Consider now the lilies?  No – consider the seeds that have become the students in our schools. How were they cultivated, nurtured, and under what conditions? No two will ever be the same. No politician, parent, government, program, money, or testing can force them to be something they are not, or push them to maturity until they are ready to bloom. Let our students develop at their own pace, to their own beauty, with as much nurturing and every advantage as we can provide.
~ deb marciano      Fall 2013 ~

4 comments on “A Metaphor for Teachers – by Dr. Deb Marciano, Early Childhood & Special Education

  1. There was a beautiful photo of a field of sunflowers attached. It was left out in the formatting! Sorry.

  2. Great Metaphor Deb. Some of the students are Wild Flowers too:-) That is what is so great about teaching. Sometimes you get sunflowers, sometimes you get lilies, and sometimes you get wild flowers. That makes the job more interesting, challenging, and rewarding!

    • True… but even when we plant the same thing, we don’t GET the same thing… One size fits FEW! Thanks for commenting. I wish everyone would read this and respond!

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful metaphor! All of the sunflowers are together in the same field – getting the same sun and nutrients. Some will bloom later; some will not bloom. As educators, we sometimes think we are responsible for all, even those who don’t bloom. There are just too many factors to assume this much responsibility.
    As our class size increases at VSU, your metaphor reminds me of your field: It is impossible to individualize and consider all of the diverse needs in larger classes. Teacher candidates need to remove themselves from the field and seek to address their own needs.

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