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The City Journals

New Riverview Jr. High teacher hopes to blend fun into food education

Nov 22, 2021 12:07PM ● By Victoria Wetzel

Megan Baker has returned to Riverview Jr. High, this time as a foods teacher. (Photo courtesy Megan Baker)

By Victoria Wetzel | [email protected]

Megan Baker is a familiar face in the Murray School District, having previously attended Longview Elementary, Riverview Jr. High and Murray High School. She has returned to Riverview not as a student, but as a teacher. A foods teacher. 

“I decided to teach food because it is so applicable,” Baker said. “I love that I teach a subject that everyone will use almost every day of their life.” 

While this is Baker’s first year teaching at Riverview, this is not her first year of teaching experience. She’s been teaching for eight years, most of it spent at the Copper Mountain Middle School in Jordan School District. 

“I applied to another teaching position at Murray High and they sent my resume to [Principal] Kauffman for this position instead,” Baker said. “I love building relationships with my students and making learning fun.”

Baker always knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Growing up, she would make her friends play school so she could pretend to be a teacher. However, her plan was not always to teach junior high. She wanted to teach elementary for the longest time but decided in high school that she wouldn't enjoy teaching every subject to the same group of kids all day every day.

As with every career, there are some frustrations. 

“I really try to find recipes that teenagers would enjoy so it is frustrating when I have done all the work and just get complaints,” said Baker. “And then there are complaints about not wanting to do the work to make the recipe or ‘it just sounds gross.’” 

She said she gets excited when she finds a fun recipe to make in class that she thinks would be more fun than a lecture or bookwork.

While Baker has been teaching for almost eight years, she has been cooking for much longer. 

“The first real cooking memory I have was from when I was 10 or 11. I was making a box of mac and cheese and the water started boiling over. I was wearing a shirt that had really loose fitting long sleeves and when I grabbed the pot to move it, my sleeve caught on fire! Luckily it went out quickly and I wasn't burned, but I definitely learned my lesson.” 

When Baker is not teaching foods at Riverview, her favorite thing to make at home is cupcakes.

“I think the whole process is enjoyable and I love being creative with the flavors and decorations. My least favorite thing about cooking is all of the cleaning I have to do afterwards; dishes are my nemesis.”

Baker teaches two foods classes which are available to eighth- and ninth-grade students. In Foods and Nutrition 1 [available only to ninth graders], they discuss kitchen management, safety and sanitation, and healthy lifestyle choices. She goes over the curriculum and then does a cooking lab that relates to what the class has learned. Baker will be teaching a new class for eighth graders called Exploring Foods and Nutrition which is an introductory course to Foods and Nutrition 1. 

“I love that as a teacher I am not only teaching something fun but that I am, hopefully, being a good role model for my students,” she said.