Teaching and learning

I left teaching in February and it was probably one of the biggest decisions of my life. Like all big decisions, the consequences are huge. But as I reflect on my posts about food, I realized something else.

One of my teacher mentors, Ann, told me that to become a better teacher, she puts herself in the role of a learner a lot. For example, she takes yoga classes and thinks about how she would want the teacher to help her or push her. That has stayed with me. (Ann says so many wise things. She’s had a huge influence on me. Thank you Ann Wilson!!!!)

I’m no longer a teacher, but I still like to put myself in the role of the learner. It’s a little different from simply taking a bunch of classes or being a student. And I’m not doing it to earn a degree. I like when teaching and learning is very personal or in small groups.

Some of my favorite learning experiences as an adult:

  • Yoga class with Carrie. My instructor had a home studio, a garage that she converted. I loved it because it was so personal, the group classes consisted of regulars, and it was just the best yoga experience. It definitely made yoga into a practice for me.
  • Yoga via YouTube videos with Adrienne. I moved out of Carrie’s area, so I could no longer afford classes or find a yoga community (I was commuting and had no time for evening classes anymore.) I still wanted to practice yoga, and I’m able to do so
  • Cooking class at Hipcooks. I’ve been describing them in my food posts.
  • Painting classes at Paint and Sip. I loved the painting classes there! Justin is a great teacher. He is so kind and I really enjoyed painting there.
  • Crafting workshops at Paper Source. I love explicit and detailed instruction so this class is very fun! I learn to make my own greeting cards.

I realize that to be able to take all these classes is a huge luxury and privilege. Not every can afford it in terms of money and time. There is no way I would be able to indulge in these if I had a family to support or a really demanding job. However, I want to say that I am not making a lot of money, and I find ways to support these hobbies.

For example, practicing yoga through YouTube videos is free. You only need Internet connection, a screen, and space & yoga mat!

There are many workshops at local libraries too. They are free!

I’m able to take cooking classes by assisting the teacher and volunteering to wash dishes. I’ve been able to “take” classes for free by being there and assisting. Really, the amazing thing about the Internet is that there are so many podcasts, videos, and tutorials that are available if you really want to learn. I just want to say that learning doesn’t stop once you are out of school, but it is a huge time and money investment if you choose to take classes. One day, I might pick up adult music lessons too.

I’m a really big proponent of adult learning!


Jeweled rice!

Recently, I have been encountering a lot of Persian culture! I am not complaining about it because 1) Persian food is delicious; 2) the Persians in my life have been nice; and 3) I live in an area with a good Persian population.

My favorite Persian food is ice cream! Saffron and rose flavored ice cream. When I was in college, there was this ice cream called, quite literally, Saffron and Rose. I love the ice cream there because it was so unique, even though some people said it tastes like perfume.


Anyway, I loved this class. I think this is really what Hipcooks is about. I loved going to sushi and dim sum class, but since I’m familiar with the food, it was comforting. I know nothing about Persian cooking, so this was foreign in the best way possible. We made jeweled rice with pistachio, saffron, and barberry. We also made salad with meatballs and yogurt sauce.

My favorite was the ice cream with orange slices, pistachio, and rose petals! I am serving that at my wedding or the most important celebrations of my life. It is beautiful and fun to make and super tasty.

I realize that I can’t really share anything I learned about Persian cooking except that:

  • Persians know food. They make a lot of it. Proper Persian meals are a feast.
  • Saffron is the stamen of crocus flowers. It is painstaking to gather and that’s why it is so expensive!
  • Persian cooking is very involved and takes a very long time to prepare and cook. It probably involves ingredients you don’t have on hand. Truthfully, I probably won’t ever make it myself, except the ice cream. But going to this class made me appreciate Persian food a lot.

I can’t say enough good things about Hipcooks, the cooking class I’ve been going to. It’s been a big part of my life post-teaching because it helps me to be around strangers, people, and adults again. I’m learning how to assist the teacher, how to serve food, greet people, and make 3 hours a pleasant experience for all.

I love it a lot. I’m really thankful it exists because I’m learning so much there. Thank you Suzana!

Have you ever had Persian food? Would you try saffron and rose ice cream?