Students of mine, new and old, you serve a big purpose in my life and it is my privilege to work with all of you! Let’s make good memories and have a great year!
|a portrait of me by my artist B.|
I like to think of myself as a nice teacher who respects, understands, empathizes, nurtures, and is patient with her students. Geez, if those are the only characteristics necessary, I could probably win an award for best teacher.
However, having these characteristics are not enough in the teaching world. To be an excellent teacher, one has to be a goal-oriented manager and an encouraging and supportive leader. Knowledge of one’s content area and ability to share this effectively in a manner that engages students (not lull them to sleep) and allows them to generalize this learning to real world issues is a very important factor in teaching. Without knowledge, enthusiasm, and humor, your students will drag you down.
Organization and planning is another key to being a successful teacher. This is quite challenging because teachers have tons of paperwork to do, lesson plans to write, assignments and entry tasks to check, grades and report cards, attendance to take, individual education plans for students with special needs, meetings with parents and students, conferences with department members, and many other work responsibilities to juggle. It is almost impossible to keep anything straight.
Teachers also need to have excellent communication skills. Students, parents, and teachers do not always see eye to eye, thus it is important to know how to get one’s point across without seeming superior nor scared.
Tons of things go on in a classroom, one minute everything is going smoothly and the next is complete chaos. This is why we need back-up plans, learn to be aware, and be flexible. Amidst all the hustle and bustle in the classroom, professionalism is number one and at all times we must maintain our calm.
At the beginning of every school year, I tell myself to do better, but doing better is never enough. There’s so much to do, so many things to teach, and so little time. Maybe this year will be my year to get this whole teaching thing together. One step at a time…
All right, I will stop all this silly talk and start getting on with my to-do list that keeps getting longer with more and more side notes. Classes start next week and it’s all I can do to prevent myself from hyperventilating and stress eating.
Speaking of stress eating, what’s the number one food that doesn’t fail to boost your energy and lift your spirits? Since food is my passion, this is hard to choose from, but I would say it would be in the form of desserts for me… perhaps some chocolate?
How about silken tofu and chocolate? Gross??? Actually, NOT. You wouldn’t even know you’re eating tofu! I made this silken tofu, dark chocolate, and cocoa powder mousse this weekend and have been enjoying little servings of it throughout the week.
Yep, just teeny tiny little servings because this mousse is rich! It is smooth and creamy, with a strong dark chocolate taste, and a hint of vanilla.
1/3 cup chocolate chips1 lb silken tofu, drained using a fine mesh strainer
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp sugar (or more to taste)
Fill a small or medium sized sauce pan with about an inch of water on the bottom. Attach a metal mixing bowl to the sauce pan with a metal clip. Make sure the mixing bowl doesn’t touch the water. If it does touch the water, then make sure it just barely grazes the water surface. Pour chocolate chips into the bowl. Turn the stove on to medium heat. Allow the chocolate chips to melt, gently stirring until everything is completely melted.
While the chocolate chips are in the process of melting, place the drained silken tofu, sugar, and vanilla extract in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
When the chocolate melts, turn the heat down to medium low. Slowly pour the tofu mixture into the melted chocolate and stir gently until everything is well-mixed. Add the cocoa powder and stir until it is well-combined with the mixture.
Since the tofu is still cold when poured into the melted chocolate, the chocolate will harden. So, stir gently every now and then until the mixture gets warm and the chocolate lumps disappear. Add more sugar to taste, pour in half a teaspoon at a time. (DFJ and I found it perfect after a total of 2 teaspoons, feel free to add more or less to your liking.) Stir until the mixture turns smooth and creamy, 8-12 minutes.
Turn off heat and move the mousse to a bowl. Let cool for 10 minutes or so. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
crushed pistachio nuts
toasted coconut flakes
crushed butter cookies
chopped fresh fruit (strawberries, cherries, bananas, what have you)
Decadent and almost guiltless… this mousse will surely melt your stresses away!