A rant and a muffin….

When I first started teaching they handed me a binder and said make sure to teach all the things that are in bold and get to as many as the others if you can. That was it. Other than some sound advice from my team leader, “don’t leave marks”…and he didn’t mean on the furniture(he of course was joking), I was pretty much on my own to do whatever I wanted. Since I had great discipline( I even won an award for it) they pretty much left me alone, leaving the occasional “let me know if you need anything” note left in my teacher mailbox. My first three years of teaching were like this….and my kids flourished. We didn’t waste time learning how to take tests. We didn’t take “practice” tests. We didn’t spend time on learning study skills…we just learned.
Some days we even wasted some teaching time having fun(which is highly frowned upon now a days). We will take Thanksgiving  for example. Now, I taught the older kids and my first 5 years I taught in an highly urban area(which most people know as the ghetto). I had these hats. Turkey hats. Originally it started out as just a project where we were helping out the 1st graders. But I of course made a hat and wore it and the next thing you know kids are coming up to me asking if they can make hats. Of course they want to make hats, they act old, but they are still kids. So it became my tradition to make these stupid hats with the kids. I would give a big pep talk about who is brave enough to wear these, blah, blah, blah…that always seem to work because even my gang bangers would wear them. Then we would watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. We would eat popcorn, pretzel sticks, strawberry ice cream, buttered toast and jelly beans while we watched it(because that is what Charlie Brown and Snoopy prepared…in case you were wondering). It had absolutely no redeeming educational quality whatsoever. And those kids loved it. It stuck with them. I had kids, who now have kids, that sent photos of their kid in the turkey hat. Now that was cool(even though it did make me feel old :P ).
Now over the years I have had to sit in many a staff meeting and take Myer Briggs test, and Kiersey Temperament Tests and I even had to learn what color I am(orange for primary with green as my secondary…for those whoever had to take that test). All of this so we could understand better ourselves as individuals. And yet they no longer want us to teach as individuals. They want us to teach the same way, the same method, use the same discipline model and so on. It truly is a backwards system. :( With the main ones suffering our the children.
So that was just a rant and had nothing to do with my muffin! Except that I did not go to a school that repressed my creativity and so I can do weird things now….like make Pumpkin Chocolate Covered Raisin Muffins. I like pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. I like pumpkin muffins with raisins. So why not make them with chocolate covered raisins? I made mine with Glossettes(the Canadian version of Raisinets…but seem less waxy to me for some reason). I must say they pretty much tasted like I expected, which was good. Always nice when one of my experiments turns out well.
Oh and in case you are wondering, even though I do not teach anymore, I still wear my turkey hat each Thanksgiving…it wouldn’t be the same without it.




  1. absolutely scrumptious!

  2. Yum Jen – three of my favourite things (pumpkin, chocolate and raisins) all in one muffin. I will have to give these a burl.

  3. So, when will we see a picture of these famous turkey hats??! I love Raisinets, so I’ll definitely be trying these muffins. What a good idea to bake with them!

  4. Since I do still teach, I enjoyed the rant very much. In my school there is far too much emphasis on practice tests and not nearly enough on turkey hats imho. There are so many things wrong with all this emphasis on testing kids to death, that I won’t get started, lest this turn into a rant of a comment. I’ll just say that I miss the good old days when we could have fun at least part of every day.

  5. I am a new reader to your blog, and have this wonderful ‘at home’ feeling after only reading your ‘about’ and the post above! I too have an addiction to muffins – perhaps it comes from spending my childhood in Canada and my mother’s love of baking them – she even has a cookbook called ‘muffin mania’!
    Strange reality is that I have now lived in Europe for many years, and I don’t know if it is the flour, water of baking powder that is differnet – but they never turn out quite like at home. I have not given up and look forward to trying your pumpkin muffins. Oh and your ‘Pumpking Butterscotch Cake’ looks divine. Please stop by my blog when you have time :)

  6. hi! came across your website, and what a pleasure it has been browsing through your archives! i used to teach so i know where you are coming from, even if we are from opposite ends of the world. funny that i joined teaching ‘cos i remembered having fun when i was a student myself, yet doing anything fun with my students was largely frowned upon.

  7. These look like great cookies. Obviously, I don’t teach, but I know people who do. Unfortunately, I think one of the big focuses of school these days is performing well on standardized tests so that schools can keep their “ratings.” That means the teachers are rushing to get those specific things jammed into the kids’ heads just long enough for the tests, and they don’t really get to take time for the kids to LEARN it. I think it’s going to be a bad thing come later…PLUS, the kids miss out on TONS of fun!!!!

  8. I love your blog; the recipes and the photography. I agree with your rant. My son is a teacher and teachers spend too much time teaching how to take tests instead of helping children learn. No wonder children don’t like school, it’s not fun.

  9. It sounds like you would have been a favorite teacher. The one who’s tough enough to keep the class in line yet allows creativity. The one you learn from. Would you like to be my substitute teacher?

  10. it’s terrible how nowadays classrooms are such rigid atmospheres – kids need to have fun! it sounds like you were a great teacher – if only more teachers could be like you!! :0)

    as for the muffin, pumpkin & chocolate (or carob) is a marvelous combination – just in time for fall!

  11. That’s a very interesting look at the state of teaching today, Peabody.

    Of course the muffins are the exclamation mark!

  12. I think that the teaching is like your comment in the most part of the world.I have teacher friends and they talk about this.And your pumpkin chocolate muffin look delicious

  13. wow!! these look incredible. i think i might make these tonight…

  14. Love the story! Love your site! Love to get started on making those muffins, right now! My two boys will, well you know, Love them!!

  15. Amen sister! I wish that all of the experts who are actually IN the classroom could somehow get enough power and status to convince everyone of what they know is correct. We’re definitely leaving MANY children behind when we insist on covering tons of material at the risk of overlooking understanding and interest. The problem is even worse in poor shool districts–guess who is spending all thier time getting drilled, and which students, in which school districts, are not? Until we get a test that does a better job measuring comprehension than parental income, we are in a sad state. Oops, just feel off my soapbox…..

  16. What a great post!!!

    And SHOCKINGLY, I actually baked today – I made pumpkin muffins too – topped with slivered almonds and brown sugar. I was going to put dried cranberries or white choc chips inside, but forgot and had already started putting the batter into the muffin tins. :)

    Didn’t post on the blog cause the recipe is already there…

    I’m just happy they turned out good.

    Yours, as usual, are lovely and yummy!

  17. Oooh I’m so gonna steal this idea…the chocolate covered raisins in baking, silly, not the hats. Well, maybe the hats to celebrate the only true fall holiday. Halloween counts, too? Pooh.
    The muffins look terrific!

  18. I bet you were the most fun teacher ever! And that touch of fun in the classroom is what makes the children want to learn. Its very sad that your way of teaching is not the norm…your students were very blessed to have you. :-)

  19. Love your hat story. I wished I had teachers like you when I was in school! I really heart the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving part! :D The muffins look “killah”!

  20. I think we need to see a picture of you in the turkey hat now!! And I love the Charlie Brown movies – I try to get my husband to watch them at their specified holiday, but he doesn’t usually go for if…

  21. So true, so true on the school rant, Peabody. If you do what’s good for kids, the test stuff comes along. I know it does. Uh…can I get me one of those turkey hats, or will you wear one in a blogphoto?

    Pumpkin and raisins, okay. Chocolate? Hmmmm…I’ll have to think about it. Coming from you, I’m sure it’s out of this world.

  22. Sorry you’re not a teacher any more Peabody because from your rant I know you are the kind of teacher every kid needs. Need a school system that supports that kind of teacher too.
    What a fun idea with the chocolate covered raisins . . . and the turkey hats!

  23. pretests, post tests, performance series tests, ITBS tests….I feel your rant. Unfortunately, it is so difficult to bring the fun factor into the class and thats how we lose great teachers! I am constantly trying to think of ways to boost morale. I bet your school felt a tremendous loss when you left….most unfortunate.

    Your muffins, however, sound like the bomb! :)

  24. Yeah.. we so need to see a photo of you and the turkey hat. ’tis the season!!

    I don’t know much about teaching.. but I do know that from a very young age, teachers have had my respect. Not because of what I’ve learned from them.. but because we owned a restaurant (with a bar) all my life, the local teachers would come in often – weekends after football games the entire restaurant and bar would be full of teachers.. and here I am, a kid..hanging out because OMG Mr. Kaydo is sitting at my bar!! (I had a crush on him) – but from the years of “hanging out” with all of those people, who soon got use to me being there, I’d listen to their stories and some were so sad and some were quite triumphant.. it takes a special person to teach – and I can’t imagine it’s ever been easy. With that said, I truly can’t imagine how tough it’s got to be these days.. God.

    Perfect combination with the muffins.. and pure genius!


  25. They might not have learned anything from a school book that lesson, but I bet they took away a feeling that made them more willing to learn in a lot of lessons after that. I was so lucky; I had great teachers right through primary school and high school, and I know what a difference they make. A young friend of mine (now 13) didn’t have such a good experience in primary school and I often spend time with him now teaching him things like division and grammar, trying to get him up to speed with the basics so that he can better tackle his high school work.

  26. By the way, have you ever tried making Morning Glory Muffins? I hear they’re fiddly for a muffin, but I’ve had well made ones and they were DELICIOUS!

  27. My co-workers thank you so much for this recipe. I made these last night, and they are absolutely amazing. I’ll be making another batch this weekend.

    I love you blog!

  28. Jaishree says:

    OMG, Where have you been? Am I glad I discovered this blog!!!
    I tried this for breakfast and ate up half the batch…so delicious cant stop chomping.Love your blog-love the way you write:)

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