Honoring Teachers: Or, Why I'm Serving Double-Stuf Oreos at my Workshop

As I mentioned in the event description for my Equinox Equilibrium workshop, I’ll be serving Double-Stuf Oreos at the end of the class. I picked up the practice from a teacher of mine, and I’ve kept it up in my ACC classroom teaching now that I’m an adult. Since I’m teaching this special class on the equinox, it seems appropriate to bring that ritual into my yoga teaching as well.

When registering for my first high school classes, I was admittedly not all that excited about taking World Geography. Although as an adult I’ve developed an interest in geography and world cultures, at the start of 9th grade, I wasn’t as keen. I just wanted to take art classes.

Although I started the semester with low expectations, my attitude change quickly when I first walked into Mrs. Albee’s geography classroom. First, I was amazed at how her handbag, skirt, and shoes all matched. I was further amazed that her skirt, shoes, and handbag always matched. And they weren’t simple neutral colors, either. Mrs. Albee had a flair for bright colors and floral prints, and her outfits were always impeccable. While I never picked up her fashion sense, I remember the delight of a magenta skirt on a dull November day.

Mrs. Albee also put gold stars on our tests when we got As. She believed that high schoolers still deserved to have the fun signifiers of achievement we’d grown used to in elementary school. And while she certainly had bad days, I never recall her being in a bad mood, or taking her troubles out on students. Even people who were disruptive, even bullies, she handled with good-natured humor. She had an incredible ability to get a class on track, even after disruption. She had a seemingly unflappable sense of composure. I am continually inspired by my memory of her classroom presence.

But I think what I (and all of her students) remember most was her habit of bringing Double-Stuf Oreos to school on the equinox. She loved to observe the day that was equal parts light and dark. And what made the day extra special was that Mrs. Albee always had enough not just for her current students, but for older students no longer enrolled in her classes. As long as you were still enrolled at Hudson High School, you could come by her class on the equinox, and she’d hand you a Double-Stuff Oreo. Sometimes two. It was a small thing, and yet I’ve never forgotten it. Not in the several decades since leaving school.

So I bring the Double-Stuf Oreo ritual into my teaching for several reasons. First, it’s fun. Second, it’s a way to honor a teacher who had a profound effect on my life. A teacher who helped me become more invested in the world beyond my immediate town. A teacher whose classroom presence always displayed humor, strength, and compassion. A teacher who set a high bar, a strong example, and someone who I try to emulate whether I’m teaching technical writing, yoga, or poetry.


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