The answers will come not from walking up to your farm and saying this is what I want and this is what I expect from you. You walk up and you say what do you need. And you commit yourself to say all right, I’m not going to do any extensive damage here until I know what it is that you are asking of me. And this can’t be hurried. This is the dreadful situation that young people are in. I think of them and I say well, the situation you’re in now is a situation that’s going to call for a lot of patience. And to be patient in an emergency is a terrible trial.
Being patient in an emergency is not only the trial faced by the small-scale farmer endeavoring to care for the health of a particular place, it’s also the trial of a teacher endeavoring to care for the health of one student. When we see so many underprepared students it’s easy to be overwhelmed, to become worried about whether American students are falling behind their international peers or whether low-income students have the same opportunities as their wealthier neighbors. But I’m not sure these big problems have big solutions.
Rather, the solution may be for teachers everywhere to begin asking of their students, “What do you need?” This is the first step in the slow work of healing, a work that requires commitment and great patience.
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