“After years of working with adolescents who had to be coaxed and cajoled into learning, in this new setting I was surrounded by little children who got excited if you offered them a smile and a handshake. They practically ran into class to find out what Mr. Farmer Steve was up to each day. They expected excitement. Equally exciting for me, I got to be the oldest sixth grader in the Bronx in a school that only went up to the fifth grade. I may have acted like a big kid, but I could do long division in my head. I had a driver’s license. And now I had my own master key to the building.
Our first task: Build our classroom farm. “This is a big project,” I explained to the wide-eyed students. “I’m going to need everyone’s help to put all these pieces together.” Just as I had seen with older students at JVL, these little guys quickly found ways to contribute. Some sorted pieces, some assembled, and together we managed to get six Tower Gardens ready to plant.”
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