Prune and Grow

Prune and Grow

This is a picture of our pumpkin plant. Every year my family and I try to grow some type of squash. And every year, our plants get hit with powdery mildew. This disease is represented in the asymmetrical white spots on the leaf in the middle. I try to keep it at bay by pruning off the leaves with obvious signs of powdery mildew, in hope that this sacrifice will give new leaves time to grow with less chance of being afflicted.

This cycle of pruning and growing very much reminds me of what it means to be a professional. I am constantly assessing which teaching and learning practices I should either prune or foster growth in. I do this by constantly reading, connecting with others, and taking time to reflect. I also do this by getting away from it all. Having diverse and enriching life experiences helps make me a better educator. I can make connections like this to create awareness in my own practice.

Author: Matt Renwick

Matt Renwick is an 18-year public educator who began as a 5th and 6th-grade teacher in Rudolph, WI. He now serves as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District ( Matt also teaches online graduate courses in curriculum design and instructional leadership for the University of Wisconsin-Superior. He tweets @ReadByExample and writes for ASCD ( and Lead Literacy (

2 thoughts on “Prune and Grow”

  1. Great post Matt!! I love getting a little insight into your reflective process. It is so important for us all to do this, especially take a little time to step away. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Tom for commenting. I encourage everyone to take tech sabbaticals once a week. I just feel like a smarter person when I take a break from all my connections and experience life fully for a day. Not that I am not experiencing life when I am connected; it’s just different when my day is broken up by checking my SM feeds several times a day. I am forced to be present; I can’t retreat to Twitter or Facebook when there is a lull in activity. Many more conversations and chances to reflect occur when I force myself to stay away from the constant stream of information.


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