Thank you to Dr. Fred Mayo for his more than 10 years as the whit, intelligence and inspiration behind Gold Medal Classroom’s Mayo’s Clinic.
Editor’s Note: Mayo’s Clinic has been a Gold Medal Classroom staple and source of interesting information and thought-provoking teaching strategies for more than 10 years. As his columnist tenure comes to a close, Mary Petersen and I would like to say thank you to Dr. Fred Mayo for your years of service and dedication to the culinary arts education industry. Your contribution to CAFÉ and GMC has been immeasurable and appreciated. Thank you.
By Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT
Over the last decade, I have been writing Mayo’s Clinic articles to provide new curriculum ideas, teaching strategies, and ways to work with students. Drawing on my experience observing and working with culinary educators for the past 30 years, I have focused on keeping your teaching fresh and fun.
This is my 124thGold Medal Classroom. It is also my last Mayo’s Clinic article. I am moving from a monthly GMC writer to other CAFÉ responsibilities. (CAFÉ is such a great organization for everyone involved in foodservice education.)
Some of the more recent topics I have covered include:
- Promoting civility in the classroom
- Developing students’ skills in conducting research
- Making program changes
- Facilitating discovery
- Encouraging reading
- Using PowerPoint more effectively
- Creating more effective presentations
- Evaluating student presentations
- Making and learning from mistakes
- Promoting cooperation in the classroom
- Striving for excellence
- Providing customer service
- Teaching customer service
- Building customer service attitude
- Resolving customer complaints
- Evaluating customer service
- Teaching online
- Using Zoom in teaching
- Building community using Zoom
- Gathering feedback from students
You can find even more topics if you look through my previous 10 years of Mayo Clinic articles. Click here to browse all the articles. (Warning, there are 25 pages of articles to choose from.)
As I reflect on these columns prepared for you, I noticed some common threads about my approach to teaching. As a set of parting thoughts, I encourage you to focus on curiosity, creativity and consistency. If you can demonstrate these qualities, you will always remain an effective and valuable teacher and you will make a significant impact on your students’ lives.
- Curiosity – keep learning and investigating new ideas, new ingredients, new ways of preparing and presenting food, new sanitation strategies, new practices in the industry, and new ways of teaching. This past year has pushed all of us to reconsider how we teach, to develop a wider range of teaching strategies, and to create innovative assignments. This is the silver lining in the horror of the pandemic.
- Creativity – remain open to trying new ways of teaching, demonstrating, and evaluating students’ knowledge and skills. Doing the same old thing all the time diminishes your excitement for what happens with your students and does not keep them interested. You can always try something new. Find ways to keep thinking outside the box and avoid repeating what you have always done.
- Consistency – showing students you are fair, well organized, and caring makes the teaching context better for everyone. Remember, students only care about what we know when they know we care. Teachers who change their practices, assignments, and evaluation strategies on a whim do not help students learn. Students depend on us to be fair, firm, and flexible. Keep that approach and you will help them in many ways, often not noticed, since you will be serving as a professional role model.
My teaching motto has always been “I will do anything that is not illegal, immoral, or unethical to help students learn the material.” That does not mean I did not have high standards and push students to do their best and often, beyond what they thought they could do. I would help them learn no matter what it took.
Fundamentally, I believe teaching should concentrate on exciting and engaging students. We are failing students if we cannot get them intrigued with and eager to learn more about the culinary world. If they choose to pursue other careers, they have at least learned a lot about our industry from our classes and improved their ability to be caring and inquisitive professionals in any field.
That means we need to stay excited as well. I have often said to faculty members that if you are not excited about what you are teaching then your students won’t be either. So, get more coffee and find your passion for the subject.
Our students learn best when they are engaged with the subject and want to learn and practice. The ones who volunteer for extra projects, ask more questions, want additional experience or suggestions for more reading will make real contributions to the industry because they are engaged. Our job is to trigger and expand that engagement while they are in our classrooms and participating in our programs.
So, my parting advice remains: love your subject, love your students and love your profession. Then you will teach with joy and your students will eagerly learn.
Thank you for reading these columns. It has been fun to write to you each month, and I appreciate the feedback and comments. I hope they have been helpful; don’t forget you can always find them on the CAFÉ website or on the archives of Gold Medal Classroom. May 2021 bring you renewed excitement for teaching.
Dr. Fred Mayo, CHE, CHT, is retired as a clinical professor of hotel and tourism management at New York University. As principal of Mayo Consulting Services, he continues to teach around the globe and is a regular presenter at CAFÉ events nationwide.