Exams, Gifts, and Gratitude

Thoroughly review the following exam and find a link to a recipe by the end.

First Semester Exam

Directions:  Answer the following questions using complete sentences.  Be thoughtful and thorough.

1.  What is the most rewarding part of teaching?

2.  4x = 108.  Convert the answer into a word problem.

3.  Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, do you know the muffin man,
That lives on Drury Lane?

1.  What is the most rewarding part of teaching?

Answer:  If you ask me what is the most fulfilling part of teaching, I’d say something philosophical, lofty, but true, like finding creative ways to teach young people to be critical thinkers, and I’d say something seemingly shallow and materialistic but equally as true, like receiving gifts during the holiday season.  The latter is not just because I sometimes rack up on stuff, but it’s also because the holiday season is one of the few times of the year that parents and students have a built-in context to say “thank you” for a job that sometimes feels thankless.  And, more than that, I realize that in a short period of time, students, whom I often impel to pay attention, have been paying close attention to who I am outside of being their teacher.

I would argue that students’ gifts reflect how well we have come to know each other.  Sometimes this knowledge seems to have happened through osmosis, for I don’t remember sharing the intimate details about myself that their gifts sometimes reflect.  For example, this year I received a bar of organic, lavender soap.  I absolutely love lavender.  As a matter of fact, just a few days ago, I bought a bar of lavender goat’s milk soap, I buy lavender essential oil to make my own skin and body products, I use dried lavender to jazz up lemonade, and I have lavender in my herb garden that was planted a few years ago.  But, I don’t remember saying a word about lavender in class.  I also received a two-month Netflix subscription.  Simply put, I love movies and really need to catch up on watching some during the winter break.  I also received gift cards to Target, which I shop at all the time, and Barnes and Noble where I’d love to buy a fresh new journal, video, CD, or book. One student and his family even gave a donation to a charity on my behalf, something in theory I’d love to do but have never gotten around to in terms of time or finances.

I also received handmade gifts like earrings, ones that I can see myself wearing over and over again because they are unique and big, observations that my students make all the time about the earrings I wear daily.

Aside from teaching history and literature, many students and their parents have an inkling that I do work around food, and so they give me food.  Food in the form of gift cards to places like Starbucks, Panera Bread and Bertucci’s.  Teas and a beautifully wrapped jar of honey for sweetener.  Food I can use in creating amazing dishes of my own, like an assortment of salts combined with spices from around the world and a rosemary tree that I can’t wait to plant in my herb garden and use in sauces, breads, and gravies.  And, most precious of all, food made by their own 11 and 12 year-old hands, like cookies baked, decorated, and packaged in decorative or zip lock bags with simple notes written in magic marker, like “Thank you for being my teacher.”

2.  4x = 108.  Convert the answer into a word problem.

Answer:  We baked a hundred katrillion sweet potato muffins for my daughters’ teachers.  In the first marking period, my 7th grader, Yetunde, had 11 teachers and 3 more people she wanted to thank, and my 5th grader, Niara, had 8 teachers and 2 more people she wanted to thank.  That made 24 bags of 4 muffins each for a total of 96 muffins.  One batch didn’t come out so well, so we did it over, which made a total of 108 muffins in all that we baked.  For the packaging, we had some plastic, decorative bags with metallic twine from previous years and business cards that could easily become gift tags with the right font.  In each bag went 4 large muffins made with whole grain flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh steamed, mashed sweet potato.  We draped cloth napkins in the bottom of two large baskets to hold the packages of muffins as my daughters delivered them to their individual teachers. . .O.K. so a hundred katrillion muffins was a bit of a hyperbole, but that amount does convey the gratitude that they deserve, they being the group of people who touch my daughters’ lives in ways the two of them can’t fully explain but may be able to imagine because their mommy is a teacher.

3.  Oh, do you know the muffin man,
The muffin man, the muffin man,
Oh, do you know the muffin man,
That lives on Drury Lane?

Answer:  No, I don’t know the muffin man, and I have no idea where Drury Lane actually is.  But I do know a woman who has two daughters, who can bake over 100 muffins from scratch in like three hours in a regular oven, who lives on an uphill street in Washington, D.C., who loves being a teacher, adores her own students most of the time, and has mad love, respect and appreciation for her daughters’ teachers and all that they do. . .  Her Vegan Sweet Potato Muffins would make a great addition for holiday brunches!


About Levita Mondie

Through Vita's Vegan Ventures, I share my passion for and knowledge of life-affirming vegan cuisine, including Soul Food, Mexican, Italian, Indian, Ghanaian and more. Contact me at vitasveganventures@gmail.com to schedule cooking classes, demonstrations, lectures, and more. See more details at https://vitasveganventures.wordpress.com/ .
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8 Responses to Exams, Gifts, and Gratitude

  1. I will try the muffins over the holidays 🙂

  2. Teresa says:

    Your words, your recountings are absolutely beautiful. Thank YOU for being the gifted, special teacher that you are. And thank you for acknowledging teachers. Blessings and continued love and light.

  3. Trish Heatherman says:

    Love, love, love your blog! …and the muffins are my favorite gift – thank you! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Happy winter!
    Hugs to you and your beautiful

  4. Joseph Sapp, Jr. says:

    Vita, this is a beautiful and well put together blog. Teachers are a true gift to mankind. They DO NOT get credit, recognition, and the worth they truly deserve. “Well-Done!”….

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