don't pull her apart 
and build her strong heart 
into the walls of your house.
her bricks and mortar
hold her power and 
her place together
just right.

and this fight
in this light
can't be captured
in pieces.
you have to swallow
it whole.

the depth of 
her reflection
is sung clearly.
her foundation 
does not need 
your inspection.

it is sound.

of course it is.

that's just your privilege
that copies and pastes 
this movement for 
your tastes, 
your scrapbook, 
your escapes
from the moment.

but to behold her 
as she is- 
a word soldier
broad shouldered
smashing boulders
with verses
so that you can 
stand down from 
from excuses
with dignity.
that is her
gift to give,

don't stroll past,
and extoll crap
exclaiming to your
fellow passengers of 
knowing who lives there.

selfies at her gate
do not raise the value
of her estate or 
your experience.
they underrate it.
the view from her
front porch cannot
be shared of course
so ask yourself -

did i shingle 
that roof?
did i fasten 
that door?
did i dig
out the basement?
did i lay
out that floor?

likely not.
up til now
did you care?
you weren't there.

so turning
up stones on her path
won't awaken your grasp 
or give you 
an understanding 
of her past.

don't assume welcome
into her house.
mistaking edification
for invitation is no
longer tolerable.
and as your hand falls
on the gate, wait.

and at every moment
after, ask - 
may i?
knowing that the answer
likely, should be - 
i will let you know,
if you grow,

food is ..?

I start this course in a similar fashion every semester. I poke and prod the students with survey questions designed to explore their rules and beliefs that surround food.

A large portion of the first week is spent in discussions surrounding favourite flavours, and shapes, and the ‘whys’ behind systems of thought that support the fact that ketchup is better than fresh tomatoes and that muffins are actually cupcakes without icing.

All the while I am slowly cataloging the pre-knowledge of my students.

All the while I am engaging them in some pretty lofty debates- ‘Be it resolved that nobody should buy bread from a gas station..’

All the while I am assessing Learning Skills and the critical analysis tools that each of my new, young chefs employ.

And all the while I am nurturing the open opportunity to build rapport and lure the students into an open mindset or growth mindset. By challenging their assumptions, discussing their beliefs, and sharing their experiences the class slowly gels around a common pursuit- deeper appreciation of the course material and of each other’s contributions.

This mindset ultimately serves more useful than the handouts, the slide-decks, and the summative tasks. Students that give themselves permission to explore the ‘why’ behind their food rules and food knowledge, usually experience a deeper satisfaction in their learning. And, more concretely, are able to demonstrate their skills clearly and articulate their qualifications without leaning on any marking scheme.

The open minded student leaves this course being able to explain what they could not do when they walked in, what they can do by the end of the course, and confidently replicate the effort it took to arrive at success.

This kitchen/classroom space is an amazingly, deep learning zone for me. Every semester that I am able to continue teaching this course I try to add more depth and density. By adding flipped videos, blogging, and maintaining a virtual classroom I hope that the students will appreciate a Modern Learning approach to a ‘cooking course’ In the least, by openly documenting my learning process and including the class community in the development of class resources, the students will see the reasonable risks that I am taking. And maybe, in turn, the students will be willing to do the same.