Today’s menu: chicken and rice bowl (“sweet and sour chicken” was the label it was given on the menu), broccoli, orange, breadstick
Wow, another new menu item. I was pretty excited about it, but I passed another teacher as I was walking with my food to my room as she was walking to the cafeteria. Peering at my tray she asked, “What are they serving today?” I replied, “Chicken and rice.” She took a look at my tray, “I’ll pass,” and turned around. I actually defended the meal, “It actually doesn’t look too bad to me…” And she said, “I’ll just stick with a snack today.”
That’s not the choice I would have made, but then again I’m boxed in by my decision to eat school lunch every day. But if it came down to not eating or eating, I would eat this lunch.
Hey, there was real chicken in the rice bowl! I admit to being stoked about that. You can see below I only avoided the orange (too hard to peel in the time I have — we’ve talked about how ideally they should be sliced up) and the breadstick. I don’t think the breadstick adds anything to this meal. In fact, it’s empty calories checking the “grain” box for the USDA’s school lunch requirements. There needs to be two grains in every lunch and rice counts as just one.
A teacher confided in me this week, “I don’t enjoy teaching like I used to.” I can’t imagine why not….the testing seems to be the biggest difference between teaching of old and teaching nowadays. Teaching is fun, testing is not. I believe in the value of a good pre- and post-test, but it’s getting a little out of hand. Teachers are testing in the hallways for days while subs teach the class. Teachers have student teachers teach so they can grade and do other special projects just to stay on top of things.
About 30% of teachers leave the profession after three years and 45% are out after five (citation). In that same article it is noted that most teachers cite lack of administrative support as the primary reason for leaving the profession (38%) followed by workplace conditions (32%). I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an educator to touch lives. If I’m not making a difference, then what’s the point?
One of the fun things about attending a blogger conference is the discussion about things only bloggers care about and which would bore any non-blogger. For example, one topic of conversation was comments. I found out at BlogHer Food that many people delete comments. I found that to be interesting since I actually rarely delete comments. I only delete if it’s spam or when some attacks me personally or uses an expletive. I think I have deleted about 5-10 comments since I started moderating in April.
I did delete a comment the other day though. The person wrote, “Please make love to me!” and then linked to a nasty website. I have to admit, that was funny!
1) Boldness – Have you ever attended a professional conference for work? That would be entirely different than attending a blog conference. If a conference is for professional development, you are there to learn and not network very much. It’s often a passive, learning experience. Going to a food blog conference is different: you need to mingle. In fact, those interactions outside of sessions are potentially more important that what’s happening inside the session. I picked all the talks on the “Values” track (food politics, urban farming, and canning), but by doing that I missed out on other discussions that might have been interesting. At the end I figured out that I needed to room hop a little and ducked out of the last session. From there I wandered into a PR room for free natural, fermented soda (unbelievable stuff!). I ended up chatting with a PR guy who was very interested in school lunch reform (who knew). Be bold (I wasn’t very bold, but I will be next time), talk to everyone, have a card. Even I had a card — hey, what can I say, I want more publicity the cause of school lunch reform and the blog too. Food bloggers are a perfect audience.
2) Cliques – I came into the conference feeling so nervous that at first I sought out a space where I could be left alone. I know, how social of me. I had trouble processing the whole experience and right away I could see how it could be quite lonely going to a conference like this. It seemed like there were definite cliques among certain bloggers. I can imagine that many people were trying to find a comfort zone. I can relate to wanting to be in a small group because I too didn’t want to cast a large net (I am anonymous after all). But I was thrilled to meet anyone who came up to me to chat. On the flipside, everyone who I approached was friendly and welcoming, but it seemed from a far that a few people did stick together quite a bit. If you want to enter another person’s group, refer to #1 above and be bold. It doesn’t hurt to introduce yourself if you’re feeling left out!
3) Be yourself – Don’t overdo it with a crazy personality. Most people are looking for authentic interactions with real people not a brand. Relax and let your true self shine through.
Any other questions I could answer about BlogHer Food? I’m only going to do one more post about BlogHer Food (the corporations who came and what I chatted about with them) so hang in there if these posts are completely boring and trite. Oh yeah, I’ll do a giveaway too!