The Cooking Teacher: Putting the “Tea” in Teacher Community

Teachers with Tiaras- No, it’s not a new musical group; it’s just a group of teachers bonding and having a good time. It all started with my birthday. I love tea and I frequent tearooms all over with 2 of my tea-loving friends. I also fancy myself a Queen, or at least a princess, so that’s how the tiara got involved. Anyway, for my birthday my co-workers decided to throw me a tea party. My co-workers are art teachers and two of them have been on a mission to change the school climate. From Kindness Counts, to a lighted Gratitude Tree, to collecting socks to donate to the homeless shelter, and other events, all were designed to bring people together and make school a better place. So these wonderful ladies went out and purchased tiaras, tea and all the things that are necessary for a tea. They moved furniture, baked scones, and even bought gifts. And there we sat in our tiaras drinking tea out of china cups and eating scones. And we realized or, I should say, they realized that it was fun and it was relaxing. We had time to talk, to share “war stories” of our week and exchange ideas. A few weeks later there was another member’s birthday and we decided that it would be fun to do tea again. And a few weeks after that the tiaras were back out for another birthday each with a different theme, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. That’s when we decided to host a tea and invite our music department coworkers. This time our creative art teachers made top hats for the guys to go with our tiaras. It was a blast!  And we got a chance to sit and bond with coworkers that we pass in the halls but don’t get a chance to talk to. As teachers we need to take time out of the day and have some fun time. We need to relax, chat and have a cup of tea and support each other. When we take time for ourselves it makes us better teachers. After our tea time we go back into the class with a renewed sense of support and a better attitude. We plan to continue these teas, each time inviting a different department. Next up is a celebratory tea for our newly chosen Teacher of the Year!

Williams Sonoma Sour Cream-Maple Muffins (a nice treat with tea on a cold winter day)

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ cup room temp unsalted butter (if you use salted omit salt)

¾ cup good quality maple syrup I like to use local Lake Hopatcong syrup when available

1 cup sour cream

1 egg

½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and butter a muffin tin (I sometimes use paper cups and omit the tin greasing step. It also saves time with clean up.

In a small bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat butter until smooth. Slowly add in the maple syrup beating constantly.

Beat in the sour cream and egg. Stir in the pecans.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin filling each tin 2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool and remove from tins. Makes about 16 muffins.

– Laurie Satmaria

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