MUSINGS ABOUT TEACHING
(Image copied from http://grasswonders.com/all-wanted-know-planting-grass-seed/)
One good analogy that I could think of about teaching is lawn care. It starts with knowing the soil (analogous to knowing what experiences and prior knowledge that students bring with them) and knowing where the soil is situated (analogous to knowing where they are in their development). While I cannot control the weather cycles, I can certainly control how much water goes into the soil. Grass is greener when it is given plenty of water and occasional fertilizers. Occasionally, I may get overzealous with giving my students water and fertilizers of knowledge. I realize that that too much water can drown the grass and too much fertilizers can be a bit toxic. A common theme in my evaluation is the high expectation I have of students. Although I have tempered my tendency to overwater and overfertilize my students' minds, I have also found other ways to facilitate more active and intentional learning. Still, this may not work for everybody; the outcome may not be what we intended - like weeds on grass. Weeds are water hogs and can strip the soil of nutrients. By the same token, life distractions and lowered sense of self-efficacy may sap students' energy from academic persistence.
Every year may be a different climate. The upkeep is never easy; it may require different skill sets, but always, diligence. I need to be up on my toes and be ready for the unexpected brown patch in the grass (i.e., students on the downward spiral). I have to be consistently aware to develop or refine my skills if I want healthy growth.