New Jersey Service Member Lauren Nixon and her students take risks in and out of the kitchen

By: Lauren Nixon, FoodCorps Service Member, Greater New Brunswick Charter School

My middle school students are utterly petrified of answering questions incorrectly. Recently, when playing a trivia game about fruits and vegetables, I held up a photo of Romanesco, hoping that my students would take a stab at uncovering the identity of the bizarre, yet delectable member of the Brassica family. Instead, the photo elicited a deep silence – little eyes darting around the room, whispers ricocheting through the space, feet shuffling under desks. “Pass,” many of them remarked when I asked, once more, for them to take a risk. “Pass,” in middle school lingo, often translates to I’d really prefer not to embarrass myself in front of this entire group of super cool people or I have absolutely no clue, so I’m begging you to call on someone else. When they’re sure of an answer, they’re ever so sure – chests puffed out, eye contact unwavering, voices clear. When they’re unsure, they’re cowering and shrinking in their seats, attempting to make their bodies small, silencing their voices.

Read more at NJ Farm to School Network News.