I had to learn how to deal with 20-30 cute little creatures known as children.
Their smiles, laughs, funny sayings, openness and spontaneity were qualities I adored.
I loved to teach, most of all, I loved the challenge of teaching new subjects and accomplishing new territory.
It kept it alive and interesting for me and my students.
But there were times that I doubted my teaching style, so I tried on a regular basis, to make things fun and entertaining, as much as you can make school fun and entertaining.
I did not want to be a boring teacher, but an enthusiastic one.
I noticed that my class would come alive during "hands on" type lessons, such as in Science class.
One time, during Language Arts, we read a story about a young girl and her grandmother baking a cake known as "Thunder Cake".
I decided to enrich the lesson, so the class and I baked this cake.
The children really enjoyed the activity and I enjoyed spicing up the lesson.
They were thrilled with the story, making and eating the cake, and even looked forward to "acing" the test.
I will never forget this experience as it encouraged me to think of other ways to incorporate "real hands on" learning in the classroom.
Over the next few years, I did just that.
I added more 'hands on' experiences to my lessons, and the children loved it.
But after 10 years of teaching, I yearned to start my own business.
My husband and I searched and searched.
I came across a new concept, a business teaching kids how to cook.
I observed a class in action, and immediately felt at home, with the cross-curriculum approach and saw how hands on and valuable cooking can be when integrating Math, Science, Reading, Geography, how to follow directions, and how to follow steps in a process.
It was amazing and I had to find out more.
This business combined two things I loved: children and teaching.
So, with more consideration, we did it, we went into this business, full steam ahead.
There was but one minor issue or maybe it was major...
I was no cook! I thought, "I can do this, I have a Master's Degree in Education, I've taught Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies.
I can certainly teach kids how to cook.
" Well, let me tell you, my learning curve started from scratch.
I not only had to learn how to run a business, but I have never cooked like this, and I couldn't identify fresh thyme if my life depended on it.
It isn't that I didn't cook at home, it was just that I was stuck in my comfort zone, with making the same types of foods over and over.
Then, when boredom struck with those foods, we ate out alot.
I knew that homemade, fresh meals are best, but I just thought it was too much work.
We opened our business December of 2007, and was I in for many eye openers.
The real surprise came when the summer camps started, and we were cooking 4,5 or 6 recipes per day.
I am not talking cookies and brownies either.
I am talking about Sushi, Crab Cakes, Lobster Pie, Boston Creme Pie, King Ranch Chicken, New York Style Cheesecake and many other fine recipes.
The children went crazy over these recipes and I felt so empowered and enabled to do these things with the kids.
My favorite part of each camp day was when a student came in to tell me how she or he made breakfast or dinner the day before.
I was just so amazed at how enthusiastic the kids are.
Not only did they learn how to make a delicious meal, but we integrated Geography, Math, Reading and History fun facts into each an every lesson, or recipe.
This, to me, is my favorite part of the teaching.
As I continue to gain knowledge in this field and fall more in love with the creativity and hobby of cooking (and might I say that I am an excellent cook now who has a lot of confidence in the kitchen), I see how important it is for children and adults alike to gain some formal experience with culinary skills, especially if they think they can't cook.
Not only is cooking fun, creative, and a cool hobby, it is a valuable life skill that benefits all humans.
From a healthy standpoint, everyone knows that cooking from scratch is the healthiest form of food for the human body.
But let's look at the artistic, creative and fun part of cooking that seems to get lost for us as we go out into our busy world.
We need to bring it back to our kitchens, and most of all we need to instill a love for cooking in the children now, so that they may be able to successful feed themselves when they become adults.
They need to cook with confidence and insurance that no meal has to ever be boring.
The advantages of learning how to cook and the benefits (self esteem, empowerment, a healthier lifestyle) far outweigh any excuse you can think of.
You can fall in love with the art of cooking, you'll be glad you did.