Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm starting to notice a pattern.
On nights that I teach classes I don't eat proper meals or drink enough water. Ironic, huh?

After teaching people how to cook from scratch and encouraging them to give up their boxed mixes and fast food lifestyles, I'm left thinking about Pizza Luce at 10pm on a Wednesday night, swigging a liter of Pellegrino and blogging in the bathtub. What's going on?

Maybe I passed on all of my smart cooking energy to them and don't have any left after class.
Or maybe I'm just tired.

Sometimes I wonder why I teach food classes. I don't really HAVE to, except for staff trainings that I teach at the Co-op. Teaching anything in front of people stresses me out. I sweat continuously throughout class, no matter how cold the room is. I always forget to bring something. And I worry that there won't be enough time to cook everything or that I'll be left with an hour to fill and nothing to say. Then I see the students are all older than me and wonder what the heck qualifies me to be up there teaching. Oh, and Community Ed classes mean I have to add driving to an unfamiliar school on top of the stress of the class. {enough bitching already, Liz}

It doesn't matter that nothing truly disastrous has ever happened in one of my classes. Every class has a minor mishap or something that could improve, but it always works out.

Maybe it's the rush of wondering if I'll actually be able to pull it off, of only being convinced I did it the minute I read the class evaluations. Or getting to talk to people who have to sit there and listen, not talking back to me like my stepsons tend to do lately. The extra cash is a nice perk. So is the excuse to test out baking sweets and treats for weeks before a class.

On a deeper level, it's satisfying to share knowledge about food with people who are hungry to learn- people who are actually paying money to learn more about cooking food-- And to learn from people more experienced than I am who are sitting in the class. I love/hate reading the recent point Michael Pollan made about Americans spending more time watching food TV shows than actually cooking. I like to think that taking cooking classes is much more of a commitment to really learning to cook than anything you could watch on the Food Network. Sorry, Alton Brown.


Niki said...

Despite your occassional misgivings about running a class, I wish someone would run one in Melbourne!

ZippyZu said...

Teaching is interesting- I teach yoga, and at 23 am usually at least 10 years younger than my students.. so I've gone through the same emotions. In the end it doesn't really matter- you have something valuable to teach them, and eventually it will no make you sweat! Good luck and keep it up :-)

Catherine Weber said...

It is hard, as a young person, to feel like you're taken seriously by "older" folks. (It doesn't help my cause that I'm 30, but look about 19. Gah.) Just remember that you have great information to share with them, and that they signed up for the class and paid money, so they must hear what you want to say!!

Crystal said...

I'm not usually nervous when giving speeches or presentations, but my hands still shake. Argh.

Keep sharing your knowledge - it's been great learning from you online :)

Eileen said...

Hang in there--you obviously have all kinds of interesting knowledge to impart. I teach every day, and definitely find it hardest when working with people my age or older, but you just keep at it, and the interaction eventually becomes not just easier but completely normal. Plus, if you teach the same classes over and over, you kind of "learn" them, and start feeling comfortable working through your script of stuff. If you feel better about teaching kids or teenagers, you should offer a few youth classes! Having that teaching experience in a more comfortable environment will help you relax and start to just enjoy the time with your students. Teenagers definitely need to know how to cook real food!

radioactivegan said...

I know what you mean about the stress. I just started teaching at ITT Tech (yeah, the school in all those commercials ...) and I'm terrified every time I get up there. I'm convinced that I'm always yelling and that someone will ask me something I can't answer ... and obviously that'd be the end of the world. It's oddly stressful.

isla vista food co-op said...

have i mentioned lately that i love you and everything that you say? twin, this post (and the one that i just read involving something about chinese food delivered + copious CSI on netflix = better), specifically referencing the whole sweating continuously while self-doubting while speaking (while, for me, wondering if they can see my underboob sweat), really just reinforces how much i want to actually meet you one day. though i feel like i already know you so much ;)