Amy Anderla – 6th Grade Humanities at Tompkins Square Middle School – Manhattan, NY
My name is Amy and I’m entering my 20th year teaching middle school English/Humanities in the New York City public school system. Currently, I’m a 6th grade Humanities teacher and advisor at Tompkins Square Middle School, located in Manhattan’s East Village. My school shares a really cool rooftop garden with the two other schools in our building, but I do not have a green thumb! I do, however, really love teaching kids about what they can do with the things that come out of the garden.
I’ve been interested in food and cooking since my own early school days (thanks to episodes of Julia Child’s show “The French Chef” on PBS), so I get a lot of joy out of figuring out creative ways to sneak cooking and food education into the more traditional subjects. So far, I have done this in a variety of ways, like teaching a non-fiction reading unit through cooking, creating an interdisciplinary “Iron Chef” elective with a colleague, and supporting a student blog that reviewed school lunches. I was also lucky enough to do some learning of my own as I spent two summers teaching cooking to K-8th graders attending Farm Camp at the legendary Stone Barns Center (also home to Blue Hill restaurant) in Tarrytown, NY, where I’m sure I learned just as much about food and sustainability as the kids – maybe more. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to bring food and cooking into the classroom, so I’m incredibly excited to get back to it as a part of this Pilot Light Fellowship Cohort!