Oh, I hate grading papers. Yeap. It’s true. It’s the bane of my existence as a teacher. While I love my job, grading papers is the absolute least favorite piece of it all. I was thinking tonight about teachers from my past and wondering how they handled the paper hellfire. Surely there must be a secret out there in teacher-landia that can save me from myself.
And then I thought about my sister’s teacher (K3) from … another state. Now, to be honest, I remember nothing about this woman beyond these few things. I surely met her at some point because my sister and I were sent to the same elementary school (I in first grade and she in fifth). However, I have no recollection of this person’s physical existence. I just know she existed. And from the sounds of it, she existed mainly to torture fifth graders.
We lived in that “other state” for exactly one whole school year. It was filled with memories I’d rather forget, but to be honest, they are seared into my memory. Painfully and with bizarre misty edges, like the sides of a faded, old mirror. I remember things, but not all of the details. For some reason in my mind, it often rained there (not a rainy state – we even had a pool – but I always picture misty weather.) My memories of my family time there are fond. My memories of school… well, let’s just say I – the future teacher – ran away, hid in a tree and watched my mom come to school because they had “lost” me. Yeap. Traumatic.
I knew these teacher memories weren’t going to help me much:
- Remembering being sent to Speech Therapy because my regional dialect was different then their’s…. not helpful.
- Remembering my first First Grade Teacher introducing me to the class by saying “This is your new classmate Katie. She has a funny accent. Say something to your class, Katie.” ? Um.. Nope.
However, remembering my sister’s faceless teacher did help. Not in my grading, but in another arena equally important– if not more so –: The Art of Distraction.
You see, my sister would regale our family at night with stories of this Monster-Teacher (Hey, I was six. These stories freaked me out!) She told us repeatedly that Mrs. Whatever-Her-Name-Was liked to tell kids these two things:
“Tough Toenails” (EW. EW. EW!)
“That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”
First of all, may I just say for all the visual thinkers out there in blogland: I apologize for the toenail comment. But, as a visual thinker myself – or at least someone with a vivid imagination, now you know why I deemed her the “Monster Teacher” in my mind.
I didn’t think they way cookies crumbled was anything humorous nor could I fathom how that connected with missing homework at all. (I’m not sure I see the connection yet and now that I’m gluten-free, crumbly cookies hold no humor. LOL) However, this did inspire me to put aside the grading (again) and get baking!
Tonight I made soft, ginger cookies with a bit of zing. Perfect with a cup of milk and well…. It helps the grading go faster.
I’m sure you will find your own tedious chore will go smoother when you have a NON-crumbly cookie to nosh on too.
Kate’s Ginger Spice Cookies (Note: these are not my Aunt Selma’s…LOL)
This recipe makes 14-16 teaspoon drop cookies. Ingredients:
5 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature or slightly softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon GF Flour mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each: freshly ground cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg.
2 teaspoons freshly ground dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
- Add molassses and egg and beat together again until well incorporated.
- Add remaining ingredients (flour, baking soda, spices) and mix together to form a soft cookie dough. It should not be super sticky, if it is, add an addition tablespoon of GF flour mix until you have a soft cookie dough.
- Drop by the teaspoons onto a silpat baking sheet or parchment paper. Leave 1 1/2″ between cookies as they spread a bit. No need to smooth out the dropped teaspoons of cookie dough – it will do it all by itself in the oven.
- Bake at 350F for 9 -11 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool completely on pan before removing to cooling rack or ziplock bag.
These cookies can be drizzled with a nice blend of powdered sugar and lemon juice. (Mix together 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice. Drizzle over cookies with a spoon.)