How to be the best teacher

Tales from the chocolate tank – part 2

I visit lots of primary schools, running chocolate workshops for classes.

You can imagine the excitement when a visit from ‘the chocolate lady’ is on the cards!

How to be the best teacher?  Just add chocolate – look at what you can do:

The history

Astec drawing

Chocolate has a fascinating past. Originally thought to be discovered by Mayans. It was so valued; it was used as currency at one point. Emperor Montezuma would throw lavish banquets, where many jugs of chocolate were served. Shocking fact: women were not allowed to drink it! (You can imagine how that fact is received in class!)

The geography

Chocolate is grown in exotic and faraway places. It needs a particular climate to survive, which is only found close to the equator. 

The science

The art of working with chocolate is real science. Learning about the crystalline structure to allow it to be tempered. The science community is still learning facts about this magical substance. As chocolatiers, learning this element of working with chocolate is crucial for success.

The process

Cacao beans

We cover the bean-to-bar story. Harvesting pods from the trees, fermenting, drying, and shipping the beans. Then what happens to turn the beans into chocolate. 

It’s food that everyone loves, and the process is complex and fascinating to learn. Of course, I throw in a tasting for good measure!

The design

chocolate lollipop with sprinkles

Children are designing, making unique hand-made lollipops as well as creating chocolate bars wrappers on paper and harnessing Willy Wonka powers!

I enjoy going into schools, the children are truly original and creative in their designs. 

They ask lots of wonderful questions, and they are so affectionate and funny too.  

Pupils will constantly come up to me and throw their arms around me and tell me ‘You’re the best teacher we’ve ever had! Or ‘I love you, Miss’.  It is amazing the effect a tank of chocolate has!

Depending on their age, I might help them create a lollipop. They let me know the design they are thinking of, then I just help with the outline. Best request from a young man was:

“Miss, can I have me, in my car driving along, with my dog with his head out of the window and his ears flapping in the wind?”

Everyone is Equal

One of the things I love the most about working in schools with the children is the way that the chocolate projects are completely inclusive. The abilities of the children in a class are often very varied. Lots of extremely bright and capable children and a few that find things a struggle.

The sense of achievement that you get from helping every child make something original and delicious is rewarding. The compliments often come from the children that struggle the most, as they were able to take part and enjoy their chocolate project as much as everyone else.

What a wonderful way to spend my time – helping, inspiring and having fun. A large cuppa is required when you get home. There are more reasons to work with chocolate than you imagine!

Follow other tales from the chocolate tank, including the odd disaster.

Thank you to all the teachers out there – you are the best. You may have some lovely/funny stories (with or without chocolate)? Pop over to my Facebook page if you want to share!