Why Teaching is Like Baking

Why teaching is like baking. There are more similarities than you would think!
This weekend I was making a pie for a bake off that we were hosting at our house for friends. While I was kneading, rolling, slicing, and baking away I couldn't help but think of all the similarities between baking and teaching and wanted to share them.

You Can't Be Afraid to Get Messy

This is the first similarity that I thought of because honestly I hate making a mess in the kitchen. I am a big fan of one pot recipes so that there is less the clean. I feel the same way about the classroom. I like to keep things as neat and clean as possible. 

The thing is though, that when you are afraid to get messy you miss out on a whole lot of deliciousness and learning. There is no neat way to make a pie, because regardless of how many precautions you take there will be flour, and likely other ingredients, everywhere. 

Don't be afraid to make a mess in the classroom. Break out that glitter with reckless abandon and let the magic happen. Pro tip: lint rollers are great for cleaning up glitter. 

It Doesn't Have to Be Pretty

When I went to slice the apples for my pie I realized they were all bruised and not looking great. I debated throwing them in the compost and making a quick run to the grocery store, but decided to slice into them instead. I am so glad I did because they were in perfect condition on the outside v. their lackluster outside. 

I think in the world of Pinterest we have all had to step up our classroom game a bit lest we be judged by our fellow teachers of why our classroom wasn't picture perfect. I would urge you though to slice into your classrooms and see what is really going on inside. A perfect looking classroom means nothing if there isn't a solid plan of action being followed within it. 

Repeat after me: substance over style. Every day. Every time. 

This is all to say that my pie is not the best looking pie on the block, and neither was my classroom, but I would be willing to bet on its taste or substance against any other pie. 

The Most Unlikely Ingredient Combinations Can Be Winners

Often when I am reading recipes I think the creator must be crazy based on some of the combinations, but guess what? They always work out. For example, a pinch of salt always makes a pie sweeter and balances the sugar. 

Similarly in our classrooms it is important that we include all of our ingredients; students, teaching methods, materials, and our families. When we include everything in our lessons and step outside the box we are sure to experience some failures, but the successes are so much sweeter as well. 

Patience Is Key

Why teaching is like baking. There are more similarities than you would think!Without patience I would not have a pie crust, for two reasons. The first reason is that to make a pie crust you have to follow directions precisely. The second is that I love the short dough I use for pie crust and could easily eat an entire batch raw. Add to this that you need to refrigerate the dough for two hours before rolling it out and filling it, and it is a real practice in patience. 

Likewise, classrooms are the perfect place to practice patience, because let's be honest, our students are sometimes annoying. 

Following Directions Matters

Following a recipe when baking is a precise process. It is extremely easy to mess up a recipe by not reading carefully. For example you might use baking soda instead of baking powder or a teaspoon of vanilla instead of a tablespoon. Either would change the outcome drastically. 

In the classroom we must know our rules or directions to the letter. Part of this is so that we can follow them, and part of it is so that when we intentionally break them, we do it with purpose. 

After all, some of the best baked treats come from a little experimentation. 

Everyone's Pie Will Look Different

When I first learned to bake pies it was in a class with about ten others. We all followed the same directions, had the same ingredients, and were cheered on by the same instructor. Guess what, each of our pies turned out a little different, and that's okay! 

In our classrooms things are going to look different for different people. We as teachers can be given the same set of directions and still present it to our students in different ways, who can then in turn process the information in different ways still. 

This is the magic of a classroom, because no one size fits all. 

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  1. This is a great way to describe teaching! And so very true.

    I think sometimes we all need reminding that it is a work of art!


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