Things I Know 284 of 365: We should feed teachers

Tell me what you eat, I’ll tell you who you are.

– Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making some suggestions of possible sources of gifts for the teachers in your life. Some will be products for purchase. Some will be ideas of things to make. All of them will be meant to help remember teachers as worthy of thanks.

One of my favorite rituals at SLA was the Back-to-School potluck that welcomed 9th grade students and their families to the school. I still remember the first year when Chris was worried we wouldn’t have enough food. Then, families’ favorite dishes started walking through the door.

Food, the breaking of bread, is a fine way to build community.

It’s also a way to show you care.

This semester, I was feeling as though a small group I was a part of in one of my courses wasn’t quite clicking. It was an evening course, and I wanted to do whatever I could to help the group jell.

Each week, on my way to class, I started picking up a snack the five of us could share. It wasn’t much, maybe chips and salsa or trail mix – but it was a way to build community and show I cared for the other members of my group. Two weeks ago, three of us brought snacks to share, and other groups commented on our spread of food.

Not only can food help build culture or welcome newcomers into a culture, food can be how we share culture.

One of my favorite cinematic moments occurs in It’s a Wonderful Life when Mary Bailey welcomes a family into their new home with the words, “Bread… that this house may never know hunger. Salt… that life may always have flavor. And wine… that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Enter the Martini Castle.”

Given the close ties of food in culture in my brain, it should come as no surprise that I suggest gifting a meal to your or your child’s teacher this holiday season.

This is a little trickier, but definitely worthwhile. Here’s how I’d do it:

  • Give the teacher a card or certificate explaining the gift.
  • Ask the teacher to send home a note or e-mail when they would like to redeem the meal.
  • Inquire as to any allergies or dietary restrictions.
  • Let the teacher know how much lead time you’ll need on the preparing the meal, e.g., one calendar week.

The meal can either be delivered to take home for dinner or prepared to be consumed for lunch at school. If it’s the latter, go all out and provide the recipient a real plate, real silverware and a proper glass.

I can think of few ways to show care and respect for the work a teacher does to nourish the lives of students than to offer a moment of sustenance for that teacher.

Food is our culture, and food is how we build culture.

5 thoughts on “Things I Know 284 of 365: We should feed teachers

  1. I recently visited an environmental exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago and one display was titled, “Conservation is the food we eat,” with pictures of and information about locally grown food initiatives. So I'd also say food can be a way to preserve our culture(s) and community.

  2. Hello again Mr. Chase,My name is Christopher Reindl and I am a student in EDM 310 at the University of South Alabama. I very much enjoyed your blog post this time. I truly see that the technological culture we have thrown ourselves fully into lacks community. Never do we make time to meet with neighbors or socialize with the outside world as we did in yesteryear. I hope that with this world we can find a happy medium and realize that their is still a human at the keyboard. Thanks for your blog post.Sincerely,Christopher Reindl

    • Christopher,Thank you for the continued comments. I'm glad to know you're reading. Is your semester winding down as ours is?I don't know that I agree that the tech culture lacks community.Because of the increased instantaneous effect of technology, I think we confuse ease of access with the ability to form community. Community has always been hard work. I get the feeling at times that people think physical community is a matter of walking into a space and saying, “Those are the people with whom I can forge a community.”When I moved to Philadelphia, I left the physical piece of my Floridian community behind. On the other hand, as I struggled to form that new Philly community, I had a tech-enabled Floridian community to sustain my interpersonal needs.I don't know that we have forgone community when embracing tech culture. Instead, we've run into a reminder that immediacy of doing things doesn't equal immediacy of personal connection. It's that space where tech reminds us of our humanity.An example? This conversation. I have not, and never likely will, met you. Still, we're engaging in an academic conversation that might be read by and connected to a larger, more tacit online community. The key is making the move and replying. It always has been.Again, thanks for jumping in. I don't know that I would have reflected on these ideas otherwise.

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