Last week I became a teacher

Last week I became a teacher

Since appearing on Masterchef in 2008 few things have scared me. Truly, once you’ve had a camera thrust in your face and been asked what you’re doing while desperately trying to pull together something delicious in very little time.

I’ve stood up and presented to rooms filled with people, catered some extraordinary meals and even created an award-winning educational event at a museum. But few things can be scarier than standing in front of a classroom of children to give a lesson on global footprints (incorporating both science and food technology).

My new boss was breezily confident. As she should be; with years of education experience she is an inspiring teacher for both students and educational professionals.

Me, I’m just an upbeat cook who can maintain a dialogue even if I have something thrown at my head. I love everything about food from the science of how it works to how it should be plated up. I guess that’s what saw me given a food technology classroom last week and left to stare at the space with just minutes to reconcile my lesson plan to reality. I was soon joined by a member of the school’s permanent supply staff (I like to think of her as some kind of angel) who was free to help me out.

“How many sessions are you doing?”

“Three, one hour sessions.”

I swear she just started laughing. When she asked if I had taught before I said my background was in museums but I had created and executed a workshop that won best event in National Science and Engineering Week. She continued to smile and rolled up her sleeves.

So many things went wrong from the boiler breaking (so we couldn’t wash up unless we boiled kettles) to ovens, well ovens breaking. Whilst taking the kids through a discussion, through baking biscuits and back to discussion I was having to explain my planning and execution to the people responsible for handling the funding for activity days. Fortunately my answers interjected with answering questions from my class were met with smiles. “This is really great” one of them said smiling as she made her final notes and left.

For all my concern as to how it was going there were three points in the day where I had a room filled with young people happily eating biscuits. I had really great ideas emerge in the discussions and by and large the students seemed really engaged. At the end of the day my sessions got good feedback from the kids.

And I got a badge that says Geographer. That feels pretty official.



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