Planting the May flowers (copy)

Kankakee High School juniors Anyia Brown, left, and Giannah Boice plant flowers in May outside the school. In his column, Ron Jackson compares farmers to teachers, stating they both sow vital seeds in society. 

Fortunately, there will be no more rain in May this year.

After the wettest May in almost 150 years, we can only hope the month of June will be dry enough to allow our farmers to play catch up, if that is even possible.

Meanwhile, the “other” farmers are wrapping up their season.

We don’t refer to this group as farmers, but, in a way, they do a very similar job. They plant seeds at a designated point in the year, they continuously fertilize and irrigate, then harvest for the benefit of society. Then they take a break and run off to some tropical island for three months.

Just kidding about the tropical island. Although teachers do similar work as farmers by providing a product that society depends on, they do not just close their lesson plans in June and take off for three months.

It is very easy to compare farmers to teachers.

For starters, both vocations are hard work. Really hard work. Many times, farmers and teachers do underappreciated hard work. Farmers typically start planting during spring and harvest in the fall. Teachers begin planting in late summer and harvest in late spring.

The work of farmers and teachers generally goes unnoticed until something goes awry.

Should nature or politics cause a hiccup in the farming season that results in a lack of ample produce or an increased cost to society, we will acknowledge the farmers’ importance.

Should there be an absence of a conducive learning environment or political shift that results in an unproductive yield of prepared minds at an increased cost to society, we will acknowledge the teachers’ importance.

It is harvest time for educators. Another academic year has come to a close. And just as I enjoy watching the fruits of labor of our agriculture farmers from a safe vantage point, I also enjoy witnessing the progress made by our educational farmers.

No season is without challenges. However, there is one noticeable disadvantage teachers face that farmers do not.

In spite of all their best efforts, teachers need assistance from parents.

Farmers need Mother Nature, but they don’t need mothers or fathers.

There is a direct correlation between the success of teachers and the education valued environment outside of school, primarily, the home.

If given the best weather, rain and shine, best seed, best fertilizer, best equipment and longest days of daylight, farmers will produce the best crop.

If given the best tools, best lesson plans, best equipment and ample hours per day, teacher production still is limited by the before and after school influences of the kids they are responsible to teach. But, like farmers, teachers are there every day working for the greatest yield. And, in my estimation, they deliver year after year.

Most of this year’s graduations and promotion ceremonies have concluded.

It is time to say thank you to all the teachers and everyone who works toward educating our future. It has been another fun year for me watching a few kids transition from that exciting first day of school to those challenging nine months to their final day of lessons.

Again, thank you to every educator for this year’s yield. Wishing you a very productive time off, however and wherever you spend it. I’m looking forward to your return in a few months. But for now, I have some corn I want to watch grow and review something I have long pondered.

Do farmers spend their months off at the same tropical locations in the winter that teachers spend their months off during the summer?

Ron Jackson is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal and can be contacted at rjackson@ daily-journal.com.

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