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I teach Culinary Arts at a "hard to place" Title 1 school in rural Nevada. This is my 30th year in education and my 13th as the chef instructor of a Culinary Arts program. Prior to retraining as a chef and working for a few years in the food service industry, I was an elementary teacher for 17 years. During my elementary career I spent 9 years at inner-city,r rural, and suburban public schools in Texas. I also spent 8 years at international American schools in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.submitted by DC1346 to ruralteachers [link] [comments]
To paraphrase the commercial for Farmers' Insurance, "I know a thing or two (about disasters) because I've seen a thing or two."
As a child with a father in U.S. government service, I was in San Salvador, El Salvador between revolutions. I was in this Central American country when Hurricane FiFi drove torrential rainstorms across the country. Since the capitol is built on the plateau of an extinct volcano, the poor lived in shantytowns on the surrounding slopes.
When the rainstorms hit and the slopes turned into mud, entire communities slid down the hillsides to be buried in debris. First responders and Red Cross volunteers used the street in front of my home as a makeshift morgue. Mud covered bodies were laid in rows while family members wandered from one body to the next to use rags to scrape mud off the faces to see who had died. From time to time I could hear a heart rending wails which still echo in my memories.
As an elementary teacher I was in Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War when the Iraqis who had invaded Kuwait were slamming scud missiles into my community, Dhahran. When the civil defense sirens went off, my third graders ducked and covered under their desks. In violation of Aramco corporate policy, instead of crawling under my desk I would wander around the classroom (staying away from windows for fear of shrapnel damage from a near miss) while reading John Erickson's Hank the Cowdog.
I was also in Beirut, Lebanon when the Israeli Air Force bombed the city in retaliation for the governments alleged failure to control Hezbollah (Party of God) who had launched attacks against Israeli forces in what was then occupied South Lebanon. I spent the night under the heavy desk of my faculty apartment. From above the window sill, I could see tracer fire from a Syrian anti-aircraft gun that was just one block away, rising into the sky. When the international airport reopened a week later, I self-evacuated and returned stateside.
Back in the states I spent a couple of years as a volunteer firefighter. I served as an assistant nozzleman i.e. the guy who stands behind the person with the hose to help brace him (or her) against the water pressure from the nozzle. As a fire fighter, I followed my crew into burning buildings while civilians ran out.
When the coronavirus forced the Nevada state governor to shut down all public, private, and post secondary schools in the Silver State, my principal asked the faculty to write reassuring emails to students and parents.
In happier times, I used to email culinary newsletters on the first of each month. The newsletter always included pictures of student work products along with an overview of what each class had done along with the occasional recipe. Pictured below is a Brazilian gainhada (their version of chicken and rice) that my Culinary III students produced last week.
Here is a picture of braided garlic bread rolls that were served with a Marinara dipping sauce as part of our Culinary II study of appetizers.
Since I'm autistic, I do not do warm and fuzzy. I do not form relationships though several of my colleagues have insisted that I do. Given my background instead of writing a reassuring letter, I put together a "special edition" of my culinary newsletter. Since I knew that a lot of our parents had been laid off as restaurants closed and conference events were cancelled, I wrote instead about why our governor had shut our schools. I included links to current information from the Center for Disease control (CDC). I included a description of local resources.
Out of respect for my building admin, I submitted a draft for this four page newsletter to the principal. She liked it so much that instead of my just sending it out to my culinary students, she sent it out to all area parents for our high school, middle school, and elementary schools.
Since I have a YouTube video channel in support of my culinary program, I have previously made a film for the production of a depression era food, Sloppy Joes (which my Culinary I students produced last December). I am now thinking of producing how-to demonstration films for making low cost foods.
Sadly things will get worst before they get better. The governor recently closed all non-essential businesses for 30 days. The casino resorts were already operating at reduced levels and had laid off hundreds if not thousands of employees. With so many people now out of work, a lot of parents are scrambling to figure out how to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.
I did my best to address at least some of these concerns in my newsletter. I wish I could have done more.
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