Teacher education and professional development focus on teachers but must ultimately benefit our learners. Scattering Seed in Teaching has come as a result of over twenty years of learning from work with students. It aims at encouraging anyone who serves in a teaching capacity (teachers, coaches, trainers, youth pastors, etc). It focuses on the practice of teaching and training through a Biblical lens and talks about mission, the field of education, our roles as teachers, the unique needs of each student, and how teachers of every sort can connect their life calling to their vocational calling in education.

When we create curriculum, build lesson plans, and design evaluations; we are serving students…yet we are ultimately doing it for God. When we welcome students, work alongside them, and speak with them; we reflect what we hold to be true by how we do it and think about it.  In our personal lives, our professional lives, and our public lives; we are the same people. We are believers.  Yet we struggle sometimes with how to make it all mesh.

Scattering Seed in Teaching is for all who teach: traditional day school teachers, college instructors, childcare workers, and home school teachers. It is for youth leaders and Sunday school teachers. It is for camp leaders and coaches. If you teach or lead in some teaching capacity, Scattering Seed in Teaching is for you. It will challenge you to consider how you think about your calling and ask how you can more deeply connect (or connect for the first time) what you do to who you are. It will test your convictions about your teaching and encourage you to act.


One day a farmer went out to sow seed.  He reached into his seed bag and filled his hand.  Then he tossed the seed out onto the soil.  The seed landed on several different types of soil, and with each type, the result was different.  As teachers (and others who teach) we can read ourselves into the story in several different ways.  We can see that we are the soil.  We can see ourselves as the seed.  We can also see ourselves as the sower of the seed.  Interesting isn't it?  No matter how we live, what we say, or how we think; we are scattering the seed of who we are and what we hold to be true.

Scattering Seed in Teaching is a book that explores the many facets in which teachers fulfill the parable of the sower and how we are called to scatter seed.  It encourages and challenges faith-driven teachers of varying contexts to live out their calling to live and work in a way that understands its complete connection to their life calling.  

I challenge you to read, reflect and join in scattering seed.  It will bless your students, your colleagues, and your community.


Jesus calls each of us to live in a way that gives the Father glory, shares His love with everyone around us, and reflects the life of Jesus.  He invites us to scatter seed.  Scattering seed can be a challenge, though, especially in our public lives, our professional lives, and volunteer lives.  Those of us called to teach in some way feel the challenge deeply.  We seek to share knowledge, experiences, and life lessons with a broad and varied group of people and do it in a way that shares Christ’s love.  Often life, curriculum challenges, and student chemistry threaten to derail our best-laid plans.  When this happens, it’s easy to be distracted from our purpose or even to forget that our life calling is the same as our calling to teach.  

Scattering Seed in Teaching is about returning to that call or perhaps connecting with it for the first time.

It shares stories, interviews, and observations of teachers and students learning about scattering seed.  It connects with Biblical reminders and encourages us as teachers to reflect on and remember that underlying our professional call to teach is our life call…they are one and the same, to Scatter Seed.

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Chapter 1: Tools for the Taking: The History of Seed-Scattering

Chapter 2: The Field or The Place in which we Teach 

Chapter 3:  The Soil or the Students We Teach 

Chapter 4: The Place of the Farmer in the Context of Teaching 

Chapter 5: The Work of the Farmer (The Roles of a Teacher) 

Chapter 6: Personal Responsibilities of the Farmer and the Teacher

Chapter 7 Scattering Seed beyond the Edges of the Field 

Final Thoughts:  How Do I Start Scattering Seed?

Scattering Seed in Teaching Excerpt.pdf (2159k)


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I am a husband, a dad, a teacher, and an adjunct professor. For the past two decades, my heart’s work has been to help 

my students grow, learn, and become through our work together in learning and teaching. 

My work as a teacher is driven by what I hold to be true.   As a teacher, I want my words, actions, and reactions to

show God’s love to my students, and as a father, I want the same for my own children from their teachers.

The field of education is a tricky place to be these days.  Teaching, learning, and understanding stuff is what we 

measure, but there is so much more to the calling of a teacher, especially if that teacher is a person of faith.  We are called

to live a certain way in all places in our lives, and this way of living has its roots in what we believe.

I have written a book called Scattering Seed in Teaching to share the lessons that God has been teaching me the past

23 years in education. Through it, I want to encourage and challenge other people of faith who are teaching now or

preparing to teach. I want to help them see their calling in life as the same as their calling to teach and live out who they

ARE in all they do.

This way of seeing and understanding will bless their students, their colleagues, their communities, themselves; and it will

honor GOD.


Ever since I can remember, I have been a journaler.  Poetry, daily happenings, interesting conversations, and people have all ended up immortalized in my journaled scrawlings.  So when I began teaching twenty years ago, the practice continued. Humorous incidents, thought-provoking occurrences, memorable observations, and discussions all found their way into small bounded journal pages.  Each one represented a lesson learned, a life to remember, an experience had.  Some of the pages were drawn from my own personal life, others from the experiences of teachers and students from a variety of other school contexts: some elementary, some secondary, others college...and from a broad spectrum of school types.  Never during the years of personal writing had I mused about turning any of it into a book…until one afternoon.

One Spring afternoon, while I visited my grandma, she unsurprisingly asked if I would like to go with her to cut some rhubarb (Grandma sent everyone away with some small gift, and rhubarb was a favorite). This led us out into her back yard, the place where I had spend untold hours as a child.  As we walked across the grass to the rhubarb patch, we passed greenhouses that had fallen into disrepair.  And, as I turned from them to scan the many acres of former vegetable gardens, the past washed over me.  

All at once, the memories of working side-by-side with my grandpa and cousins in the greenhouses, on the tractors, and in the fields all returned.  Time stood still for a moment as pictures and words flooded my head.

I forget whether I even returned home with rhubarb that day (I most likely did), but I do remembering sitting down later and opening the journals from the previous years of teaching and learning.  The lessons of childhood in the garden all began to mesh into a new context and became one with the adult years in the classroom. It was then that I began to imagine the possibility of a book, one through which I could share lessons learned through students and other teachers.  The focus, rather than being education in general, though, was to be on people who recognize a convicted calling to teach.  I wanted to begin a dialogue, one that would keep us mindful of the preciousness of our lives and the opportunities we have in our calling in life.  I wanted to help draw or redraw the often missed connection between our life calling and our professional calling in education.  I wanted to remind others that it is through how we walk, speak, think and act (and why) that we share who we are and what we hold to be true. This can often be far more powerful than any words we might speak.

And so, after some years of journaling, reorganizing, and much cutting; Scattering Seed in Teaching became a reality.

My prayer is that it will bless and encourage you or someone you know who teaches in some capacity.

Please join me in Scattering Seed!


If I can prepare a presentation or workshop for your group and share ideas connected to  Scattering Seed in Teaching, please contact me (email below).

I am available for workshops with study groups, teacher-education classes, teacher development and more.


I dream of a network of teachers of all sorts sharing their stories of seed scattering in and through their call to teach. If you have something to share or a question to mull over, please contact me!
We can discuss it together.
Brian Pickerd




Maintaining the Road of Learning

I have spent my entire life living in Michigan, the Great Lakes State, the state of ever-changing weather, the state with two seasons(despite claims to the contrary);

Winter and Road Repair...a state loaded with metaphor potential. And in as far as this is all true, I would like to link a Michigan-related metaphor to learning

and an encouraging recent experience .

One month ago, I welcomed a brand new group of foreign language students...

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG


“Mr. Pickerd, I just can’t do today!”
These words fainted out of her mouth as she drooped there in front of me.
“What on earth is wrong?” I asked.
This proved to be the right or wrong question at the wrong or right time…I couldn’t tell quite yet, because what poured out for the following minute or two became
a litany of stressors in the life of this young student: test here, practice over there, paper due then, work in the meantime… The list continued. She felt driven to the
point of confusion,of disarray, and was no longer able to focus on the moment.

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG


Is it something I find? Is it something I make? Is it a priority? How do I spend it?

Do I waste it? I can’t get more of it. How much do I have anyway? How often I find myself asking these questions!

If my starting point for these questions is information-seeking, I may reach one set of conclusions. 

If; on the other hand, my asking the questions is more rhetorical

… more meditative, I may reach an entirely different conclusion.

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Water, Tea, and a Spot of Time 

Life seems full of coincidences.  We run into people just after we think about them.  We hear a song in our heads and shortly thereafter hear it on the radio.

Sooner or later; though, what seems at first to be coincidence actually proves to have more purpose.  Here’s an example… 

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Window Streaks and Learning

Early in my marriage, my wife and I would infrequently haul out rolls of paper towel and window spray for the detestable work of washing windows.  One of us worked on the outside and the other from in the house.

Inevitably, one of us would tap in the window and point to a streak or spot that the other had missed.  The trouble was that the person with the spot or streak couldn’t see it.  We simply needed to trust each other’s eyes, follow the pointing finger, reapply the spray and wipe a bit longer.  

At times the work leads to laughter, sometimes not.

Just this week I relearned the wisdom of this lesson again, twice: once in my classroom, once in another venue. Both reminded me of how much I need to continue learning...

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

We each process differently.  Speaking and listening in Teaching(or training, or coaching, or…)

Over the years and decades of learning and teaching (and coaching and training…), I have been placed in so many different sets of circumstances in which I needed to stop, look, listen, and reflect on what I was doing. It always came at a time when what I was doing was either not working or not as well as I had hoped.

Several weeks ago it happened again. During an evening class, I was pulling out all of the stops to teach a concept to a group of students. They too were putting themselves into the learning.  Yet, despite everyone’s effort, the connection I had hoped my class would make with the material fell short.  

At the end of the evening, I asked the group to review and share with me what they had learned, and they did so quite well. Nonetheless, I sensed that their words masked the lack of depth of understanding. Their eyes, on the other hand, revealed all.

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Technology: a Blessing with Responsibility

Each day, we see students as young as elementary school-age weaving through schools with cell phones in their hands. They check text messages and social media more fluidly than many of their parents. Tweeting, snap chatting, instagramming…they do it all.

If we take only a quick look at the technology picture around us, we can be fooled by what it means. One perspective is that every student holds a cellular key to the world in his or her hand or pocket. Is it true though? Why is it is important to even ask?

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Caring for our Students through the Work we Assign

When I was young, I worked on my grandfather’s farm from February until the harvest in the fall.

One day during our lunch break, my grandfather began reminiscing about the “good old days”.

Whenever grandpa told a story, we listened, partially because he didn’t tell very many stories. It also owed to the fact that his dry sense of humor usually left you laughing, if you listened well...

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Create your Story!

As I grew up, I listened to my grandparents, great aunts and uncles and my parents spin stories of “the good old days.”  

“Great Grandpa did this…,” my grandma would begin.  

“Oh yea,” My great aunt would reply, “Well, Aunt Beatrice did that…” 

As I sat and listened, my imagination ran wild with pictures, some of which were actually based on places I had visited and people I had known.  I pictured younger versions of the people before me, and my mind’s video editor filled in the rest of the picture for me... 

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Each of us has a Story!

This last week was the type of week that both energizes and saps energy, fortunately, they work together for balance.

The week marked the middle of our grade period...and our classes for this term.  On the way to school, I quietly panned my classroom in my mind and tried to imagine what I knew about each student.  The deeper I dug, the more I realized that what I knew about some students was surface-level knowledge.  This disturbed me, because it represented a break in the community, the very thing that we all need... 

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG

Where are they coming from and where are they going?

The new school year has begun(a new season), and like many other teachers, I have come out of a summer planning period of imagining where I would like to see my students in several months, if not in two to three years.  As I planned, I saw specific students in my mind.  I wondered how they were experiencing life the past months and where they will be emotionally and academically...

Continue Reading:  Scattering Seed BLOG


February 2016

Rockford Public Schools: Professional Development (Building the Soil in our Classrooms)


February 2016

Scattering Seed in print


April 2016

Scattering Seed Presentation at Cornerstone University TESOL Conference


June 2016

Book Presentation for Rotary


August 2016

ESL Workshop:  Scattering Seed teams with Harvest Church in Westland, MI to build an international friendship center.


October 2016

MITSOL conference at University of Michigan (Flint) (Soil: Building Community and Bridging diversity with TESOL Curriculum)


October 2016

St. Paul School, Grand Rapids, MI: Professional Development (Building the Soil in our Classrooms)


November 2016

Rockford Public Schools: Professional Development (Building Community Through our Teaching)


March 2017

Rockford Public Schools: Professional Development (Hospitality in Teaching)


March 2017

St. Paul School, Grand Rapids, MI (Hospitality in Teaching)


April 2017

Krauss Memorial Library, Rockford (KDL) Local Author Night


September 2017

Hope College World Languages Conference (Together with Michael Pasquale and Leticia Espinoza)


October 2017

Aquinas College, Grand Rapids, MI (Discussion: Community as Classroom Management)


October 2017

Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, MI (Discussion: Scattering Seed as Pre-Service Teachers)


December 2017

Rockford Public Schools, Rockford, MI (CO-presentation: Interest, Purpose, Practice, Hope...Climate and Culture in the Classroom)

April 2018

Cornerstone University TESOL Conference (Hospitality in the Classroom)

*Co-presenting with Michael Pasquale

October 2018

MITSOL Conference at Eastern Michigan University  (Classroom Learning Communities)

*Co-presenting with Michael Pasquale

March 2019

Grand Valley State University Modern Language Outreach Conference   (Building a Discourse Community)

April 2019

Cornerstone University TESOL Conference (Classroom Learning Communities

*Co-presenting with Michael Pasquale

May 2019

Cornerstone University Professional Development (Supporting the Adolescent Brain through Community-Driven Learning)

*Co-presenting with Michael Pasquale

October 2019

Lilly Conference  Traverse City (Re-envisioning the Classroom through Community-Driven Learning

*Co-presenting with Michael Pasquale


 Read an Excerpt of Scattering Seed in Teaching.pdf (2159k)


Buy Scattering Seed in Teaching