The Morning Announcements

When I started my job as Garden Educator at La Canada School I was very optimistic and enthused about my position. I recruited eight classes to participate in the the garden. We planted up seven odd garden beds, staked in a scarecrow that wore a special red, white and blue wig the students chose and we were ready to watch our plants grow. Then came the vandalism. It started with the scarecrow on the roof, then the pea teepee was pulled out and then the final blow, our prize crops were being up rooted and tossed around. It was getting really hard to remain optimistic for my students and we were all pretty discouraged. When I sought advice on how to deal with vandalism I was told that I needed to get the faculty and students on my side. This seemed like an unreachable goal because of the population of our school with about seven hundred students. Then the answer came to me one Tuesday morning while I was working in my daughter’s class. We were all tuned into the announcements which can be entertaining at La Canada. I then realized that for these few minutes every person on campus tunes in,  students, teachers, cafeteria staff,and maintenance personnel. I found a place to use my voice.  I really wasn’t thrilled at first with the thought of using the microphone. It can be a little intimidating unless you love hearing yourself talk. I had to put my fears aside because I had a garden to save! I think my voice did a fluttery thing the first time. It was really a bit awkward, but each month my garden report got a little smoother. In two months I was coaching the students that had announcements after me. I began by acknowledging the students that helped in the garden and I asked students to report anyone that harmed the garden. The greatest reward has been that the vandalism  has almost completely stopped. Now that I’m not focused on vandalism I can use my time on the mic to announce work days, encourage kids to try new foods in the cafeteria or invite everyone out to see what’s growing in the school garden.

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