Food and Love

The iconic image of an apple on the desk of a teacher is interesting on so many levels. It's interesting because the idea of teachers imparting knowledge (or a sense of self) is one of the most important parts of the profession.

But, on another level, it's interesting because the idea of food and the idea of love are so connected. Often, we crave the very act of feeding those we love (in my case, whether or not one can actually cook--although I will swear that it's only when I cook for my SO that everything turns out wrong); often we connect feeding with nurturing and see feeding information as part and parcel of a teacher's job.

And the students do as well. But, they realize that, as with all relationships, everything about teaching is a two-way street. We feed them; they feed us. Occasionally, they take this advice literally.

Sometime in the last year, my stomach rumbled rather loudly. My afternoon block immediately became concerned that I wasn't getting enough to eat. Soon, apples and carrot sticks began appearing on my desk. I once turned around to find a neat stack of cookies next to my computer. And, favorite of all, got an entire bag full of tamales right near Winter Break.

Why do they do this? My dad, also a teacher, says that he has noticed that the female teachers get more food, but he has received his share of tamales (and coffee). I think that part of it, for my students, is that they sincerely want to give back. They want the relationship to be more of a true one--where both sides have a chance to contribute.

And you know what? I'll trade tamales for thesis statements any day.