Sir Ken Robinson's inspiring education keynote draws an interesting parallel between the role of farmers and the role of teachers. Robinson opens his brief speech by stating that the lives of individuals today are not linear, but cyclical; there are periods of growth and there are periods of cessation.
Robinson believes that instead of using an industrial metaphor to describe education and the role of teachers, the spotlight should be on one that is more agriculture-based.
As he explains, a great gardener or farmer depends on plants growing under their care or they are out of business and have no livelihood. You cannot, however, simply force a plant to grow. The plant grows itself by provisions of the proper conditions for growth. Good farmers know the right conditions, while bad farmers don't. The same idea applies to teaching. Good teachers will understand the most effective and beneficial conditions under which students can reach their full potential.