I have an avocado tree in my house. It is the offspring of one of my favourite brunch treats -- avocado toast. It is also the result of an inspiring teacher. One of my sons paid close attention to Mr. Bryant last year during lockdown when he shared his wisdom on gardening, including how to turn an avocado pit into a plant. It’s been a process, and it may be some time before I am making avocado toast out of anything yielded from our plant, but the plant is a daily reminder for me of the importance of planting seeds.
Mr. Bryant is not just a wise gardener -- he is an inspiring teacher. Like his colleagues, he plants the seeds of learning all the time at Greenwood. Like with any planting experience, the seeds don’t always take. Sometimes they don’t have the right conditions, or the timing is off. However, committed gardeners keep planting and fertilizing and watering, tweaking this or changing that, knowing that eventually they will see what they’re looking for: new growth.
Those budding thoughts and ideas are nurtured at home. One of the things that I love most about working in a school is this shared responsibility and privilege of working with young people to support them in their learning and development. We all need to provide some of the sunshine (optimism) required to ensure that our students grow.
Getting students outside on OE trips last week was a big step. The day trips revealed that we have some work to do in terms of students re-learning how to collaborate and share collective experiences. We need to renew our focus on the importance of character at Greenwood: Civic, Performance, Moral and Intellectual. Developing these character traits takes practice and determination, and it is an important part of the Greenwood education. The day trips and short overnights for Grade 11 and 12 students were an important step in the return to the more significant OE trips that are planned for later in the year.
Embracing challenges, celebrating differences and respecting the work that goes into making these opportunities possible will all play a role in successful Outdoor Education trips in the future. OE should be fun, fulfilling and an opportunity to spend time in nature and with one another. These trips are not perfect -- sometimes it rains, or a piece of equipment stops working -- but this is part of why they play such an important role in student development, and particularly in the developing perseverance. Ideally, students will find these experiences challenging, enjoyable and rewarding.
Circling back to my avocado toast, which started as a healthy addition to my pandemic diet: I personalize it by adding bacon and chili flakes. It still has all the characteristics of a healthy brunch food, but I find this version to be more delicious. We will keep helping students to personalize their Greenwood experience, making it the version that they most enjoy. At the core, students need to embrace the important character lessons and learning that are happening each and every day as we collectively plant the seeds necessary for individual student success and a strong Greenwood community.