I am a schoolteacher and a farmer. For 27 years I have taught fth-grade students at Hillcrest Elementary in Orem, Utah. I have an orchard in Orem of about 15 acres. Our family grows apples, pears, peaches, and cherries. We sell most of what we grow at a roadside stand located on our farm.
I’ve always enjoyed teaching. Like many teachers I have to have a second job. I feel very blessed to have an additional occupation that I enjoy as much as teaching. Teaching and farming mesh well together. When teaching, I work with faculty and staff. Farming is an opportunity to work as a family.
In many ways, teaching a class and tending an orchard are very different. In teaching I may answer several questions a day and have 30 children around me all of the time. The school environment is clean and orderly. As a farmer I spend some time alone, I can get pretty dirty, and I find it physically demanding.
On the other hand, I realize that there are many similarities between farming and teaching. There is a steady nurturing of either individuals or trees. In both professions changes cannot be made overnight, but constant support is necessary for each to succeed.
The orchard is a great place for me to reflect on how to improve both the students and the crops. I enjoy being a businessman and a teacher in the same community. Often parents of students in my class will bring their families to our fruit stand, and because of those interactions, we develop a relationship that lasts long after the students graduate from Hillcrest Elementary.