I stumbled across the following metaphor for teaching as gardening as I read and it can serve as a signpost for those working with students in crisis or with special needs:
“In agriculture the equation of invested input against gross yield is all: it does not matter if individual plants fail to thrive or die so long as the cost of saving them is greater than the cost of losing them…. This does not apply to the careful gardener whose labor is not costed, but a labor of love. She wants each of her plants to thrive, and she can treat each one individually. Indeed she can grow a hundred different plants in her garden and differentiate her treatment of each, pruning her roses, but not her sweet peas. Gardening rather than agriculture is the analogy for education.” [Rudduck and Hopkins 1985, 26; cited in Living the Questions: A Guide for Teacher Researchers 2012].
Have you ever had a teacher like that? I have had three. Or at least three who were that to me. Different teachers fill this role for different students. These people inspire me as I get ready for new season. They have been my teachers of teaching, which is what all good teachers are, for they lead us by example.