Cooking with Kids

This has got to be one of the most fun things I have done so far with my year. On Monday I made no bake cookies with some of the boys in our after school program and today I made some spaghetti with some of the girls. The kids get so excited about it. I’ve never seen them to engaged and so willing to listen and participate. The lack of interest and participation that my students had last year really affected me and how much I wanted to teach. I realize that any job would be easy if the people in it were happy to be there and engaged in what was happening, but I think I’m particularly sensitive to how engaged the people around me are in whatever activity I am trying to lead them in. When I am teaching and everyone is excited, I get a rush of satisfaction that makes every effort worth the investment. When my students are not engaged, I tend to wonder why I’m doing what I’m doing. I’m still trying to figure out what else I’ll be cooking with the kids in the next couple of weeks before we transition into holiday crafting (Yay!)

One thing I love about my job is that it allows me the freedom to be creative. Today I made a fall themed thank you poster for the local bus barn that hosted a Halloween event with donations for our food bank as the admission fee. Then I made crepe paper flowers to decorate my coworker’s desk for her birthday. I really love my boss’ working style and the way that we relate. This has been a most excellent work year so far, even with the craziness of the kids and their candy this week. I think I’ve got the best situation with the kids–I get to lead small groups around arts, crafts, nutrition, and whatever I want, so long as the kids learn something from the experience. Since learning opportunities about, that’s pretty easy. Today while pasta was cooking in a pot, we talked about all the different shapes and kinds of pasta, the girls got to see some new words, and we talked about cooking concepts like boiling and the changes that happen in food as they are cooked. I really enjoyed the book On Food and Cooking in my “Biology and Chemistry of Cooking” class that I took a few years ago, and hope that I can bring even a bit of that into these sessions now. That course and one on nutrition were two of three science classes I took as an undergrad. I want to reread the book now, but my parents can’t find it in the stacks of my stuff that I sent home with them when I moved.

I’m thinking about next year already and what I want to do after my commitment to AmeriCorps in Washington State ends next year. I really want to move to Austin, TX. I can’t completely explain why, and I’ve never even been there. It is on my heart though, and I hope to be writing from there at this time next year. My current goal is to attend the University of Texas in Austin Fall 2013 for a Masters of Public Affairs program, but that’s getting a bit ahead of where I am now. I’m up for a second year of AmeriCorps if I can find a position, and if not, I don’t really know what I”ll do. It’s a stone’s throw away from being a teacher, but so far, things are going well.

In a job, I want to be able to use my strengths. So far these have proven to be creativity, an eye for analysis, patience, organization, dedication, articulateness, and administration. Too bad that set doesn’t immediately scream out a job description. Oh well, there’s time. I know God will show me the way when it’s time for me to see it. I’ve got to keep moving forward and enjoying life for what it is. And right now, it’s pretty fantastic.