By: Jackie Gibbs
Those who know me are quite familiar with my eating habits, which consist of multiple snacks throughout the entire day. I like to refer to this binge eating as first, second, and third snack. (This does not include breakfast, lunch, and dinner). My high metabolism is accountable for this food behavior, which makes, what some people would consider an abnormal indulgence of food, perfectly normal to me. Bags of white, cheddar cheetos, mini carrots with ranch dip, wild berry, Go-Gurt sticks, cucumber and tomato salads with lots of feta cheese, crunchy cinnamon granola bars, bottles of chocolate milk and leftover spaghetti from the night before are collective, common edibles that can be found in my carry on mini mart that I haul around everyday. The whole eight spoons and two forks that I find compacted at the bottom of my twenty-pound book bag at the end of each week are the remains of what becomes a pile up of my daily routine. With a good percentage of my day being spent with food, it’s no wonder that during snack time is when I find myself immersed in some of the most unique, but meaningful conversations…conversations started by food.
Usually, one of my colleagues and I will have a snack in the teacher’s lounge before our team, tutor session in the library, but on this particular day the urge for first snack came at a different time, which collided with the art teacher’s lunch. As we sat devouring some sushi, we noticed the somber mood of the art teacher and began to chat with him. He let out a sigh and said, “This school makes me feel very sad sometimes”. We began pouring out our frustrations with each other and finding a connection through our shared feelings. We talked of the wonderful opportunities that many students will never see because they simply don’t care anymore and also of the defeat we feel in the classroom when they don’t try. He said, “I understand City Year and what you are saying is exactly right because we all are doing the same thing”.
Lunchtime is barely over as I reach for second snack. The remaining smells of my Hawaiian chicken with portabella mushrooms and pesto noodles must have still been lingering through the air because they brought one of Linden McKinley’s staff members on a hot trail to my eating domain. Amazed that my meal was homemade from the night before, he felt inclined to leave me with some wisdom. He told me that if I stood outside of a football camp with a sign saying, “I can cook” then I would be set. Our conversation of food led into his curiosity about City Year and he began to question what I thought of LMSA and whether or not my feelings about education have changed after working in this school. He left me with these words, “If you can master this, then you can take on anything”.
There is usually a bag of Laffy Taffy stashed away in my bag for rewarding times of displayed excellence or of course to substitute for third snack. On my round through the halls I noticed one of my students slouched outside our classroom with tears strolling down her cheeks. When I asked what was wrong I got no reply. Well, it was Laffy Taffy that broke the ice. After a few bursts of grape and banana flavor and a couple of corny jokes, I was able to find out that unhealthy rumors about family members had planted themselves through the halls and this is what had upset her. As we walked, we talked about controlling our hurt and anger and learning to handle situations like these in a respectful manner. Back in front of the classroom, before I saw her off she said, “City Year, you made me feel a little happier today”.