The Teacher Treat Trap & Other Lessons

by Sarah on August 24, 2010 · 7 comments

The first day of school meant the first encounter with an example of what I like to call the Teacher Treat Trap:
Being teacher means a lot of things. I could wax poetic about it and become sappy and nostalgic, but I won’t. Instead I will say that (on a most superficial level) being a teacher means being surrounded by treats. They are always given with the best intentions, of course. We all know that food means Thanks!, Good Luck, I’m Sorry for Your Loss, and Get Well Soon, among all sorts of other possible well-wishes. Cupcakes and Hallmark have pretty much the same mission as far as I’m concerned. [Today, donuts represented both thanks AND good luck. “Double-duty” doughnuts we might say.]
It’s one thing to back away from baked goods left casually in the midst of the teachers’ lounge where no one is going to shove them under your nose…but when those delicious treats are proffered up by a small child with a grin, behind which he or she is most likely hiding the stressful interaction that took place at home the night before with a mom/dad/grandparent struggling to bake three dozen cookies for a birthday that the class will be able to spend all of 3.5 minutes celebrating…well, it is hard to say, “No.”

But sometimes you have to.

My friend Cara wrote a great post a few months ago about encountering office food-pushers, and, having been one myself, I can assure you that food gifts are usually given with only the most innocent intentions, but saying “No thanks” is, in fact, a perfectly acceptable response. Or you can do the discreet thing and take a small bit and say you are going to “save it for later” if you are worried about hurt feelings. [It’s really hard with the kids. I usually take it and give it away to someone who will really enjoy it.]

How do y’all deal with being surrounded by office/school treats all of the time?

Luckily for me, I’ve become pretty confident in asserting myself. If I really want it, I’ll have it. But I’ve never been a super big fan of doughnuts anyway, so I was quite satisfied to indulge in the overnight oats I had prepped for this morning.

The usual 1/3 cup oats, 1/2 Tbsp. each of oat bran and wheat bran, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 (coconut) milk, and the 1/2 a banana has returned!
Inspired, perhaps, by both two obsessions of mine when a small(er) child–strawberry banana yogurt and Strawberry Kiwi Gatorade (sold only in the fancy sport-top bottle)—I topped the oats with straws and wees. [I do not know why I just abbreviated those…but now aren’t you thinking about a kiwi swinging and saying “Wheeeeeeeeeeee!”? ….No?….Just me?….Again?]
I did use a new yogurt, which I saw on someone else’s blog but have forgotten since. (Sorry! I think it was Monique, though.) This is the yogurt I almost bought upon first arriving to Austin because not only is it sold in this standard 4 cup size, it also comes in a 2 lb. container. Oh my goll, it was so big….so much yogurt could make one so happy….I don’t think we have room in our fridge for that though, so I settled for the standard.

Other fun things that happened on the first day of school?

I wore my traditional “First Day Dress” which I think I have worn every “first day” since graduating from college.

(I also turned a random old costume-y necklace into a lanyard for my ID. I am awesome.)

I had lunch duty, for the first time ever, and was able to discuss the pros and cons of cucumbers versus zucchini, spot a child with a bag of chili-powdered pineapple and praise her for her innovative snacks, and have a conversation entirely in Spanish with a group of 4th grade boys who were shocked that I understood what they were saying.

One of my co-workers ran up to me excitedly to inform me that she and her husband had spent 15 minutes digging through the bin of watermelons, and, following the advice I had given her last week about picking out a good one (which she, like a good student, had scribbled down), had successfully chosen a perfect specimen!

Lesson: How To Pick out a Perfect Watermelon
  1. Look for a yellow spot indicating it has had long enough to ripen on the ground before being picked.
  2. Knock on it. It should sound hollow.
  3. Pick it up and shake it. It should feel heavy and you should NOT hear water sloshing around.
  4. If it has a piece of the stem still attached, that’s good too.

I had my standard lunch….
…although today some of my Interventionist teammates commented on how healthy I was. (I had been waiting for it. It always happens). The best part was that one of them said she was hoping I’d consider making HER lunch, too, so she could eat healthier. Umm…awesome?

Since I am now a “resource” or “specialist” teacher, I also get to do fun things like tell parents where they can and cannot park to pick up their children in the car line at the end of the day.

Lesson: How to Convince Parents To Follow Your Directions When All They Want to Do Is Park In The Middle Of The Street, Retrieve Their Child, and Thereby Avoid Waiting In Line And/Or Having to Walk Any Measurable Distance

  1. Ask very nicely, making it sound like it was not your decision and it is all about the children’s safety.
  2. Make sure you have a clipboard so you look official.
  3. If they still won’t budge, resort to becoming a human traffic cone and gesticulate madly whenever a car approaches the no-park zone.

I also learned that my knack for collecting free food has led to an overflowing snack drawer.

(Who actually would keep files in a filing cabinet?)

I, of course, chose one of two items that were NOT free for my post-school, pre-gym snack attack.
This lovely Luna Protein bar tasted, as best as I can describe it, like a cross between a Kit-Kat and a Snickers without peanuts, covered in cherry chocolate, and studded with a smattering of dried cherries and almond pieces. YUMMMMMMMY.

Lesson: How To Deal With No Parking At The Gym

They REALLY wanted to work out today.

I made it home to prep lunch and breakfast for tomorrow and luckily for me, I had made a delicious casserole of a layered eggplant-veggies-and-cheese variety (recipe forthcoming, but oh-so-easy) over the weekend….
so I heated up a HUGE amount of that, and added a new veggie burger find!
These were really good…although when I heated it in the microwave it did get a bit soggy in the middle. The flavor was excellent though. :)

Lesson: Chiplets are the best accompaniment to any meal. Especially pita chiplets.
Well, I should probably be thinking about winding down, as I have yet another 5:30 AM wake-up ahead of me. Oh the life of an elementary school teacher….

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thehungryscholar August 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Hey teacher teacher. I just taught today. We don't really have snacks around. So I guess I'm lucky? no, I want snacks.

LindsLovesMiles August 25, 2010 at 4:46 am

I am a teacher too and it seems like our workroom is constantly full of sugary goodness! AHHHH! And some of my colleagues seem legitimately peeved if you decline on their left over pie from the weekend. Teacher Appreciation Week is the worst. We get Panera bagels everyday and a vast array of cookies and other sweet treats. It's so hard for me to say no!!!

Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg August 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

That's one of the nice things about teaching college– none of my students bring me treats, ha! Those would be really hard to say no to!

Jessica@tastyandtrim August 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Thanks for the tips on how to pick out the perfect watermelon! I never knew how to tell if it was good or not!

eatmovelove August 25, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Cute blog! LOL at the traps …every time there's a Birthday, there's trouble! :)…I just eat it…;)

Ann Pember August 25, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Love the lanyard, I'm going to copy that! And your office/cubicle is beautiful. we don't have to worry about the treat problem as much at the high school level, thankfully. Good luck with your first week!

Leila August 25, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Ahhh the treats! When I worked at a book publishing company the treats were free books from vendors – much more fun! But the good always comes with the bad, and once I had a very pushy neighbor with the free goodies. No matter how much I refused a treat ("Oh I just ate dinner, I'm stuffed but thanks!" Or, "Oh I am cooking dinner and don't want to ruin my appetite, but thanks!"), she would still find a way to push them on me. Once she even came by the following morning with half a cake just so I wouldn't "miss out" on the deliciousness. Oy!

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