I am an admitted “neat freak” and I am okay with that. Regularly, I get razzed for how organized my office is. “You can’t be very busy because your office is always neat and clean.” The truth is, I just cannot work when there is disorganization.

By the way, if you ever come into my office and find it a mess, you know I must be really stressed.

Just saying.

Digging out the offenders

This need for organization plays out in my yard and especially in my lawn at home. I hate weeds. It is pretty simple; I like my green, mono-culture grass and clover is not part of my vision.

It has become a regular occurrence for me to weed my lawn. I have tried chemicals, and the closet environmentalist in me cringed with every pull of the spray bottle trigger. However, the chemicals never seem to be all that effective and within a few weeks, all the dandelions, creeping buttercup and clover would be back.

So, I have resorted to crawling around on my hands and knees with an old screwdriver, physically digging the offending plants out of my lawn.

Roots and all.

I know that my neighbours laugh at me as I spend an hour or more inching my way across the turf. I am good with that. I have even begun to enjoy the simplicity of it.

It’s me versus the weeds.

Leave no root or runner behind

I have come to learn a lot about the various weeds I have encountered. Not that I have done any reading on these different weeds; I just have the personal experience of trying to get them out of my grass.

For example, plantain seems to be the easiest to deal with. The roots are fairly shallow and it has a central stalk that is relatively simple to grab and pull up. However, if you leave just a tiny part of a root hair behind, a new plant will grow back in exactly the same place in a matter of a couple of weeks.

Clover is another struggle. Clover sends tough runners right along the surface of the dirt or even just slightly below the surface. These runners can go a fair distance and will send down roots at intervals. This means that much of a large patch of clover is interconnected. So you have to dig all of it up in order to get rid of it. Miss one little piece of the runner or root and before you know it, the whole thing is back, as healthy as ever.

Watch them grow

Each type of weed requires a specific strategy for getting rid of it. In a way, this reminds me of our students. Now, I am NOT saying students are weeds, though in middle school, some of our students seem to grow like proverbial weeds!

What I do mean, is that often individual students need a somewhat unique approach or strategy to achieve the common goal of learning. This is one of the blessings of the team of staff we have; they apply different strategies and learning tools to best support our students and encourage them to thrive.

As personally satisfying as I find getting a little dirt under my fingernails and enjoying a weed-free lawn, to see a student come to an “ah-ha” moment because a teacher or educational assistant found a way to help them get there is way more rewarding.