This is my space to rant and rave, vent and vex about education, my passion. I am calling it "Mining for Hidden Gems" because of the above quote and because as a teacher, my job is to look for those gems. The real valuable ones are not usually on the surface. You have to dig deep to find them.

I am also borrowing from Katherine Bomer's wonderful book Hidden Gems: Naming and Teaching From the Brilliance in Every Student's Writing. It has changed the way I look at not just student work but students themselves and all people around me.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


First, prepare the ground.
It must have the conditions  
for the proper flourishing
of a variety of seeds.

As a matter of fact, back up.
Familiarize yourself with the seeds.
Find out as much about each of them
as possible.
Where are they from?
Are they transplants or natives?
Do they need lots of warmth,
Or do they like to stay out of the light.
Do they need space to grow,
Or need something to grow on?
Do they need constant care
or are they resilient by nature, self-starters.

You must be willing to get your hands dirty.
You must be patient.
You may not see results right away.
Not all of them will show signs of growth
at the same time.
But you must never, under any condition,
lose hope.

Know that you may have ones
who are not suited to the environment
you have created.
At least not right now.
They may not respond,

Do not blame the seed!
Do not be angry at where it came from.
There is no return policy.

Every day, speak encouraging words,
remove the dried up parts, and
get really close to look for signs of life.
They need to feel your presence,
your soft voice whispering close by.

Have the courage to transplant those
who are ready,
to bigger spaces.
Don’t worry if at first they wilt.
They will bounce back.
Give them room to grow. 
Give them something to grow on.
Be the gentle hand that guides them,
but don’t force them to take
a certain shape or form.
Those never look like the real thing.

Remember you can’t make them grow
by standing in front of them and
ordering them to.
You can’t tell them how to grow.
But you can love them so they will blossom
into what they are meant to be.



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