…and then there are days when they make dumplings…

Battling a cold, sweating under the sweltering Southern California sun, and still sporting a tie from a morning of meetings that required such a uniform, I reached the point of the day when I needed something to be wonderful.

It wasn’t going to be the three o’clock meeting on parking, it wasn’t going to be writing the reports due next week, it wasn’t going to be anything that could take place in my office. I needed to get out and be with students.

A person smarter than I am could probably come up with an equation to graph the inverse relationship between time a principal spends in her or his office and how happy, engaged, and productive she or he is.

I just know that the more I’m not at my desk the better I’m doing my job.

Certainly some days this is tough, but even on those occasions when responsibility tethers me to my office the best part of my working day is getting up, getting out, and seeing kids learn.

photo-1Today I loosened my tie and headed to culinary arts.

I’m a vegetarian, so for me, more often than not, watching our students work in the International Cuisine class is a spectator sport. That’s okay.

What I saw in International Cuisine, so similar to what goes on in so many elective classes, is students with a true passion for what they are doing. From sculpture to journalism, from robotics to speech and debate, elective classes provide students opportunities to learn more about what they love.

Today’s adventure in culinary arts took the class to East Asia. Working collaboratively, groups of students rolled dough, chopped cabbage and chicken, and constructed dumplings. Laughter accompanied learning, concentration coupled with creativity. These were passionate and talented students pushing themselves to excel and learning from a gifted instructor about a subject they cared much about.

photo-2…and over on the other side of the room, a couple of intrepid creatives who had completed their dumplings worked on a side project: whittling away to make shave ice they could share with students on campus on this hot afternoon. The unexpected is perhaps the most delicious part of working at a high school.

My three o’clock meeting pulled me back to my office before the dumplings had finished steaming, but the inspiration those culinary arts students provided saw me through the rest of the day. Their passion, purpose, and positivity were just what I needed, something wonderful.

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