Beneath the Shell: 123 All Eyes on Me - Teaching Adults

Beneath the Shell: 123 All Eyes on Me - Teaching Adults

Every week I have the pleasure of teaching hands-on cooking classes in the DC area. I have taught over 30 classes and 800 students in a state-of-the-art cooking facility. These cooking classes are tons of fun and really fulfilling. Students roll in looking for a good time with friends, a fun date, and to expand their culinary horizons.

My goal as a teacher is to walk my students through the recipes and teach them skills that will make them a success in the kitchen. We cover safety, sanitation, organization, knife skills, and food budgets, all while creating and eating three courses and sipping on some tasty beverages. The class starts out with an introduction to the theme and recipes, I throw in a couple of fun and goofy exercises to get everyone in the groove and then we are off.

I always start the hands on portion of the class the same way. Before every step I say, "Watch what I do and then we will all do it together". The class recipes start off basic and build up to more challenging skills. The students that are patient and follow directions always come up successful. However, inevitably some students will skip ahead of the class and the results will be not so great. Then they look at me like I did something wrong.

As a teacher this is incredibly frustrating and scary. We are just not reading books and looking at maps, we are working with fire, knives and yes, alcohol. This is a recipe for disaster if you ask me. The undercurrent of danger is a constant reminder that my skills as a teacher need to be on point.

I remember being in kindergarten and the class was doing an art project. Something to do with cutting up egg cartons, pipe cleaners and cotton balls and the end product was a really cool craft that looked like a skiing snowman. It was the same basic learning concept, watch the teacher do the steps and the class will follow suit. I think I started daydreaming-cutting, pasting and coloring willy nilly. But, at the end of the class every kid had an awesome art project and I had a big mess of glue, glitter and cotton balls. Needless to say I was not happy but I learned a valuable lesson about learning. You have to stop, look and listen.

What I have learned about teaching adults is that sometimes they just don't listen. Like teaching an old dog new tricks, it just doesn't happen. Like we teach children, as adults we need to stop, look and be an active listener. Understand how the information coming in relates to what you already know and how you can incorporate it to make you smarter, healthier and more loving. Keep an open mind about learning even if you think you already know the information. You just may learn something new.

Now Get Crackin' Chef Egg


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