The Cooking Teacher: September Resolutions and New Year Checkpoints
It’s that time of year, January, and my friends are all making their New Year resolutions. As a teacher I have a different day on the calendar when I make my resolutions: the first day of school in September. To me that warm, end of summer day more truly represents the beginning of a new year. And yes, I resolve at the END of the summer to lose weight because inevitably I did not do anything to drop ten pounds over the summer; surely being back in school will help my diet.
I also reflect on what I did the previous year and what I will do better this school year. For me, January is not so much a time to make a resolution but to do a self-check on the ones I made in September. Take, for instance, the weight loss, which is going surprisingly okay, and those teaching things that I resolved would be better this year. I like my method better than my friends’ because January gives me the opportunity to do this reflection exercise. None of my friends are stopping what they are doing in April or May to say “I wonder how my diet is going, or what about that resolution to keep my house clean.” It’s a checkpoint that allows me to see if I am on track or if I need to change things up, and in teaching that is essential.
There are always things that we can be learning or doing differently in our practice. For example, our school offers instructional coaches to the teachers. In the past we could go to them with questions about everything from SGO’s to classroom management techniques. But in September our coaches offered up an opportunity to “co-teach” in our classroom for a 3 week cycle. During that time period my coach met with me to plan lessons and to determine what each lesson objective and hopeful outcome would be. We also discussed assessment. This was definitely the best thing that I have done to improve my practice and I am looking forward to working with my coach, Jess, again. As far as my resolution to do something better this year, that was it. So as of my January check point I can safely say that I am on my way to keeping my resolution. Well, except for that weight thing. I start teaching my Bake Shoppe classes next month and I love cookies! How about you? Do you do a September or a January resolution??
Recipe for a healthy January:
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction
1 lb of Brussels sprouts cut in half.
2 T of a good quality olive oil: I have been buying mine at one of those specialty Olive Oil shops and it is so worth the extra -although not so extra-$$.
Salt to taste- I use a kosher style Himalayan.
Preheat oven to 425. You want a high heat to caramelize the sprouts.
Drizzle sprouts with oil and season with salt and pepper. I will often put the oil in a plastic Ziploc bag. Add in the sprouts and shake to coat.
Place in a jelly roll style baking pan and roast about 20-25 minutes. Halfway through the cooking time, use a spatula to flip them over.
To make the reduction add 1 cup of balsamic vinegar (yes I get that at the Olive Oil store too because there are so many unique flavored ones there) to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and drizzle over the Brussels sprouts.
-Laurie Satmaria works at Randolph Middle School and teaches Family and Consumer Science classes. She holds a BA from Montclair and a Masters in Child Advocacy.