Be a “Student Farmer”

By: Professor Joe Martin, ED.D.

As we start a new semester, it’s easy to get discouraged and disappointed about what DIDN’T happen and what you DIDN’T get accomplished last semester. As I reflected on last semester and reveled in all the successes, I must admit, even I started to slide down the slippery slope of self pity, as I thought about everything I STILL didn’t complete. I don’t care how diligent and committed you are to something, it always seems like there’s never enough time to get EVERYTHING done.

Well, I was fortunate during a speaking trip to run into one of my former students in the airport, who I hadn’t seen in several years. I was surprised he approached me to initiate a conversation (I had been one of his toughest professors and one of his worst nightmares – according to him). And I must admit, he wasn’t much of a “walk through the park” either. No matter how hard I worked to reach him, counsel him, help him, and almost lose my job for him, he’d only do the minimum to get by.

Well, he came up to me in the airport to thank me and apologize for “creating a voo-doo doll” (his words, not mine) of me when he was in my class. He told me that he had experienced tremendous success working for a Fortune 500 company, and he’s now one of their most promising up-and-coming executives. He said my patience and persistence with him paid off. After recovering from the sudden shock, I realized, as educators, we’re student farmers. Each and every day, we’re planting seeds into what we hope to be fertile soil (the souls of our students). The only problem is that we often lose patience because we don’t always see immediate results. But to know anything about farming is to know that great crops (students) are not produced overnight; they’re produced over time.

We have to be faithful in our tilling of the soil, our planting of the seed, removal of the weeds, and our nurturing of the crop. And if we do our part, and let nature do its part.

So, I’m asking you, are you being a “Student Farmer”? I realize now that I have a long way to go to harvest my own potential, but I’m just I thankful for the people (and students) who’ve been patient with me.

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