Trying not to slap my fellow students.

Discussion in 'General Culinary School Discussions' started by sandsquid, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. sandsquid

    sandsquid

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    By way of introduction, I'm 45 years old and spent 6 years cooking professionally back in the late 80's and early 90's.  A couple of restaurants in CT and then moved down to Naples, FL, cooking at a few noted establishments and then bar-tending, and then becoming a sommelier and  briefly running my own "micro"  catering Co. "Rent-A-Chef" in Naples, FL.  Met my wife, went into high-tech/customer service then a brief career in law enforcement and then 7 years on recall from the reserves to active duty for OIF/OEF/OND. So ,I have a LOT of miles and experience.  Since returning home the last time, finding lasting employment has been really rough, and it was my wife who said, "use your GI Bill and go back to Culinary School", I thought she was crazy to even suggest it, but she countered with, "in the 25 years I've known you, you have wanted to go back, it is where you heart is so just do it".

    ​So now I'm enrolled in a fairly well respected local culinary school in the extended program, 3/4 of the students will graduate out in about a year with a Culinary Cert. and the rest of use will go on with an AA in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management....  That is if I make it that long.

    The school I'd rate "fair to good" with the caveat that  you are going to get out of it what you put into it.  And I realize I have 30 years of bad habits to break, so I'm really trying to keep my mouth shut in class and follow the program; "Yes, Chef!".  

    But the other students, the ones that are fresh out of high-school, and like to act like fools, and are constantly chattering between themselves in class, and the kitchen. they are really disrupting my learning.  So bad I had to get up and leave class last week twice.  Our Chef/Instructor knows my frustration and understands when I have to leave, and is really trying to "tighten up" the class,  We joke that it is good experience for when I get back out in the field after graduation.  But I seriously don't know if I can "deal with it" much longer,  I've even had to go back on my Welbutrin, which I was on for a little while after coming home from AFG.  It's gotten that stressful.  And I'm just not at all used to this type of behavior,  it is simply not tolerated in the corporate world, the P.D. and certainly not in the military. 

    --
    V/R
    SandSquid


     
     
  2. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    The way i look at it , is that it is best to attempt to just pay attention remembering that you are doing this for you and no one else. 

    These kids are usually the ones to get the certificate and once they enter the kitchen crash and burn. 

    True in the culinary industry you deal with people who are young , new , experienced , and some who are fairly limited <_< , the most you can do is focus on yourself , be respectful ask the students who interrupt to be quiet and pay attention. 

    Im sure once most of them start staging or working part time , they will either straighten up , quit school seeing it is not for them , or just plain fail. 

    Just do your best , if they continue to interupt you could talk to them privately or talk to the instructor , but in these cases it is best to ignore , study , and when it comes down to cooking show them who is boss. 

    Dont argue with idiots , they will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience. 

    This is why i feel culinary schools and or institutes should only accept students who have at least 6 months of culinary experience , so they could take the class seriously. 
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  3. lagom

    lagom

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    Im your age, a bit older and understand the fustration your having. Honestly I dont know what useful advice I have for you but Ill gve it a go. Kids, and thats what most of you fellow students are, have no idea what the're doing as to how disruptive they can be in class with their behaivior. They definatly dont have the focus that mature people do and quit frankly the is no making them understand as their brains arent fully developed until they get into their early to mid 20's. I would try a combination of approaches. Of course addressing it with the instructor. Also addeessing it directly with the offenders, but in a mentor kind of way, non threating and more of a "can ya help a fellow out here" kinda way. In certain cases the shock approach may work ie.. " what part of shut the #%^* up dont you understand" but Im not sure how long the effect will last on some but it woukd definatly get their attention.

    Honestly I really dont know how yo guide you. I never went to school, never served in the military let alone a combat area and have only observed what police get to deal with on a daily basis. I can tell from your post that your very serious about your education and your carrier goals, try not to let the noise distract you to much, soon, abet not soon enough, you'll have you AA and move into a more serious group of people. People who work for a living. Yes,i am the parent of highschool and college age kids, plus grade school age and a toddler, my work is never done.
     
  4. chefross

    chefross

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    May I firstly thank you for your service to our country and tell you how proud I am that you are safe and back at home trying to go on with your life.

    Kids will always be kids...nothing to be done about that.

    What has been said above is true.

    Either the young ones will get on board or they will drown.

    I am concerned with the comment about having to get up and leave the classroom.

    Could this be a symptom of a much different problem?

    Wellbutrin is medication to treat Attention Deficit Disorder. I understand your frustration.

    The sounds and lights and actions going on in the classroom can sometimes overwhelm a person and can affect you psychologically....

    Been there and done that.

    Focus on YOU. Medication is only a part of the equation. The rest is up to you.

    Trying to block out the chatter and noise is really HARD to do but with practice it can be done. 

    It takes time.....a lot of time. It doesn't happen overnight.

    Be safe and work hard. Best regards
     
  5. chefmadison

    chefmadison

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    Going back to school as a focused Adult is difficult, especially when you find that many people seem to be taking up classroom space. First of all I want to congratulate you on using your coping skills to manage stress by removing yourself from the charged situation to regroup and reflect. Is there any additional coping skills that you could employ that might help you to stay in the room? Writing/Doodling/Cartooning in a notebook or looking at a calming picture on your cell phone?  Since it seems that the instructor understands the situation and is attempting to work on additional classroom controls you have at least an ally.

    Sometimes there are classroom accommodations that can be made in adult settings -- for instance in the classroom can your seat be changed?  Moving to the front of the class, near the door or surrounded by other more quite or serious students could help you to manage the disruption better. In the kitchen can you be placed,or partnered, near those who are more serious about cooking?  Is this school a military friendly school which has a veteran adviser, who can help you determine if any additional accommodations can be made? If this is not a military friendly school finding one will often yield a class with many more students like yourself.

    Remember, you are a unique person which many of your fellow students can't comprehend -- you have had varied life experiences that have made you more focused, disciplined and grateful. Every since my husband returned from his last deployment he always says he is terrific because today, "no one has shot at him or tried to blow him up, and he gets to go home to his wife and kids every night", and smiles -- "See, a good day!)   You might even be the first person with structure and discipline that many of these young people have seen in quite awhile.

    Finally, I want to remind you that if you choose to stay in your program past the initial certificate portion you will, most likely find that many of these "kids" are done and more adults or at least motivated learners will be core group the the associates program.

    I hope that some of this might help. Remember the situation is temporary... just like deployment.... GroundHog Day. And then you are done, but the difference is that you have a certificate instead of a ribbon.

    Madison
     
  6. dreamshards8

    dreamshards8

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    I've had to deal with the same thing through out my high school experience as well as work. I think one thing that has been most frustrating for me is I keep hearing people say "O they are kids kids." Well I am young and it's not fair that young kids acting immature get a break just because they don't know how the real world actually works and obviously haven't suffered the consequences such as losing a job and not having money to live on or dropping out of school. The fickle thing with culinary schools is that anyone can really pass, but sooner or later all their screwing around during precious learning hours will come back on them. Let their learning process of life run its course and remember when you were young: not to give them the benefit of the doubt but try not to let it bother you so much. If you really feel like you are not learning anything because of the situation, maybe you should explore new options like another culinary school. Also realize that dealing with this will make you way more patient in the future in a workplace environment if you have to encounter this.
     
  7. regisundertow

    regisundertow

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    What's wrong with just saying "guys, shut the [email protected] up, I can't hear a thing"? It worked in my class. Granted, I'm only 31, but still at least a decade older than most.
     
  8. thumper1279

    thumper1279

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    its your Educaation your GI bill is paying for it but still its your Education and the school is getting paid 

    so do something to enforce there job to make it a safe secured place for you to get your education 

    I don't know how the school is where you are 

    but my school 

    WE have 2 dean chefs  and one Executive chef and the president of the school 

    if we really issues we know where to go 

    2 of the 4 will actualy do soemthing about it before it turns into a real issue the other 2 will take care of it after something has happened that shouldn't have 

    Those student that are being bad students causing you to not be able to get what you pay for should have consiquences 

    go to your executive chef and talk to them about it 

    go to the admision rep who assisted you to get in soemtimes they are good and nice 

    the one who handled my admisions is awesome and if there is an issue i really have but don't know who to go to or don't want to be th eone knowns as ratting someone out 

    i go to her and she goes and takes care of it with the big people incharge and something gets done 

    but if you only complain to the chef instructor and he is not doing anything real about it then you need to go to the next one up the chain 

    and also 

    don't be afraid to just yell in class at the to  STFup 

    i have done that and no one did not understand why they all understood sometimes it works sometimes it dosn't 
     
  9. steelybob

    steelybob

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    In my school we worked on "tables" where 4 people did everything as a team. Get on a bad table you might as well drop the class. So the long term strategy became how to make sure you enroll with solid people and get on their table (or get them on yours).

    You have my sincerest sympathies I did 3 years as a 40+ in culinary school with 20+ years of working in a serious profession (design) where the kind of immaturity you find among young 20 somethings simply wasn't tolerated (vs being corrected the way the military does, people simply got fired or not hired in the first place).
     
  10. Iceman

    Iceman

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    BRILLIANT. This would be my response too.

     
  11. etherial

    etherial

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    OMG!!!!!  This an everyday occurrence at the culinary school I am getting ready to graduate from in May.  I was a legal secretary for over 21 years and I hated it, so I quit, but didn't know what I would do with the rest of my life, so I paid for interior design school, but after a year, the economy was not in my favor.  As a U.S. Army veteran, the VA stepped in and offered us paid schooling and my husband suggested I enroll in the local community college as a culinary arts student and I jumped at the chance!  I aced most of my classes and still study like crazy.  I've been a teaching assistant to one of the chef instructors for over a year and I have a good relationship with her and other instructors at the school.

    Here's the rub:  KIDS!  I am 58 years old and these kids and some adults, will talk over the instructor, have cross-conversations with one another, and even interrupt the instructor when I've asked a question because they feel the need to answer the question for him or her.

    This week, it is my turn to be sous chef, but I am not respected.  On the line today, I was giving or trying to give instructions to the grill person on how I wanted the plate presented and he yelled at me that he was busy and would get back to me.  I asked him again and he yelled again.  The guy was putting two steaks on the grill and refused to acknowledge me.  I asked the Chef instructor to intervene and he said "Just suck it up" and that "it is worse in the real world".  

    The students I share classes with all think they know it all.  A couple of them act like THEY are the chef because they work at a hot dog stand outside of school and they work at the breakfast grill.  Some work at McDonald's and others at Apple B's.  They think they are experienced chefs.  Out of the 180 students I started with 2 years ago, only 12 remain.  I just petitioned for my certificate.  I have one more general ed class and that's intermediate algebra for my AA degree in restaurant management. Not looking forward to the algebra, but I'll take care of that later while I work upon graduation.  That is, as soon as I can find out where I will fit.

    I am funny, likable, and apparently very sensitive.  I would love to roll things off my back as Chef says.  I would love to come to school and enjoy my day, but some days, I have to leave the class; like I did today, but after a few minutes of cooling down, I went back.

    Am I in for a rude awakening when I graduate this May?  The Chef instructor told me that I will cursed at, shouted at, etc.  Should I just look for jobs as a private chef?  You don't know how scared I am.

    Thank you for listening.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  12. emmbai90

    emmbai90

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    Yes i know how you feel the last year and half the year before that i was studying catering and the students in there were incredibly childish, the first half year wasn't so bad, then i did  the full course and i got bullied by three of  the girls in the class, most of  them were girls except for 1 boy, sadly i kept getting stuck in the classes with disability students and the college near me doesn't have that many options for over 18s most courses are only for 18 and under which i find incredibly age discriminative, never mind us over 18s then... lol. I actually snapped one time and called one of the girls an idiot because when they kept doing is snatching the ingredients we had to share when i was there first trying to measure out, they wouldn't share the scales ether so i had to buy my own scales (they started calling me selfish just because i didn't want to play their stupid games).

    It doesn't get much better with people in their 20s ether, a little bit it does but they are still so childish and judgmental, i'm 23 but i don't act like them who are just incredibly insecure, i seriously felt like knocking them to the ground me annoyed me that much, they also tried to tell me how to do everything even down to what way i went to get some bowls from underneath their bench, never again do i want to be stuck in with people under my age. As doe chef instructor saying you will get shouted and cursed at in real jobs.... i think he just trying to scare you, most companies won't tolerate bullying in the work place, if you do report it because you need to focus and do your best work and if people are messing around in the kitchen it isn't going to do well with the customers when you mess up because of others.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  13. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    @Etherial  Your chef is some ways is right it can be worse in the real world but that is not only with cooking it is with any field. Older students are always more focused than young ones.

    @SandSquid  I have to say coming from the military (thank you for your service) you are probably used to a bit more order. Don't focus your energy on these folks because you are going to meet plenty more in the kitchen. In any field really but often more so in the kitchen. Also don't rely on the chef instructor to set the order you want. This is actually a really good lesson for you believe it or not and I am not trying to be condescending. It was a number of years in my cooking career before I realized that working for the right chef makes all the difference. Why? Because the chef sets to tone for the entire kitchen. If the chef is focused and serious then the kitchen is focused and serious. If the chef is a screamer the kitchen will be fearful and tense. So now you are in the kitchen with a weak chef who does not have discipline for the students and there is nothing you can do about it. Focus on your work and the task at hand those folks have nothing to do with you.

    Hope that helps.
     
  14. sandsquid

    sandsquid

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    So far, I have read and absorbed the various comments while stuff played out in school.

    After the first Semester I was nominated as a "Student Ambassador", by two chefs. Apparently I was a "recognized class leader" and had a +4.0 GPA, & +100% attendance, blah blah. Kinda like a student council, tutor, and class leader all rolled into one.  I respectfully turned it down, saying that "I was in school for me, and needed to focus on my studies at the present time".

    The knucklehead, really it is just one little "attention-wh0re", still roiled despite being ejected from the lab by the Chef one day a few weeks ago.  There are others but when "A.H." is gone they are fine.

    So, at the begging of my classmates, hoping I could effect some positive change in our classroom, I accepted the Ambassador position on this past Monday. On Tuesday our little Attention-Wh0re was in class and acting like a complete fool. As I'm wiping my freshly sharpened knife, I got distracted by her jaw-flapping and ran the point straight into my palm.  Took a quick trip down to the VA for 3 stitches, 2 bags of IV with antibiotics, and a nice juicy tetanus shot.

    When I returned to class on Wednesday, the Program Director noticed me all bandaged up and asked what happened.  I explained "I allowed myself to become distracted by a loud annoying classmate, and stabbed myself in the palm." He just sad nodded knowingly and said "I understand".  So later that day the Attention-Wh0re was pulled out of lab and when she came back, she was pretty pissed and glared at me at every chance.  At least she kept her mouth shut. I thought, "The Administration _finally_ they got her in line."  But Thursday she was back to her usual overly-animated song and dance, harlem shake routine.

    One other student, upon seeing my injury and new position, confided in me that she burned herself a few weeks ago based directly upon the fact that she was bumped into whle A.H

     was dancing in the lab (kitchen)  I have resolved that on Monday I'm going to sit down and talk to the Program Director and do whatever I need to do to file a formal/written complaint, as it really has undeniably become a indisputable safety issue.  As a "senior enlisted" military member, it is not only my duty but my responsibly to my juniors to protect them.  I feel that same applies here.

    We'll se how it pans out. 
     
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  15. sandsquid

    sandsquid

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    Chef, I totally relate. After deployments to Kuwait, Iraq, Djibouti, and Afghanistan.  It is still spooky when our local test tornado sirens go off, and everybody does not run to the bunkers hauling their IBA's and Kevlar.  Still, the knuckleheads drag me down.

    I fully realize that my issue is two-fold. one being and adult in a class of children.  

    The second being a senior enlisted (multiple) combat Vet, and being used to being surrounded by dedicated people that new how to act, and when.  And to "keep it locked up" until it was appropriate to let loose.

    Seriously, I have sen more maturity in my wife's 3rd grade Special Ed. Classroom.
     
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  16. emmbai90

    emmbai90

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    My god SandSquid i hope your alright, whenever those girls in my class acted like idiots or if they came near my work area bossing and pushing past like they are gods gift i stopped chopping and kept an eye on my cooking food because i know these kind of people are a danger not just to themselves but to others around them and they seriously don't care one bit, they make me sick and you can't tell them because they think that negative they think were just telling them what to do but they also think acting like an idiot is the way to get around in this world, they have been listening to the influences from the government far too much because they make people believe being nasty is right and being nice is wrong. Whenever your around these people just keep your eyes down because more than likely if they don't make you hurt yourself they will hurt themselves i have no question, at college most the time i ignored them but they started catching me on my moody days a lot intentionally, but i still kept it together 99% of the time and then they ended up burning their hand on the cooker rofl xD sweet karma, but they still didn't stop.
     
  17. etherial

    etherial

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    I, too am a vet, serving in the U.S. Army.  My chef instructor jokes about how organized my mise en place and station is and how neat and clean my uniform and equipment is kept.  

    The downside is that some of my classmates seem jealous when chef compliments me on a dish and my seasonings and really don't talk to me that much or they start trying to tell me how to cook.  It's weird because I've been cooking for over 40 years and they are just starting out.  They come in with filth all over their jackets, they steal each other's equipment and FOOD.  

    There are some really nice and talented instructors there, but they are just as disgusted with the way the school's run as I am.  I'll be glad when May comes and I'm out of there!

    If I have to deal with these knucklehead sandwiches on a line in order to gain commercial experience, then I will opt for becoming a private chef.  That way, I'll have some peace of mind and not be bullied by young-know-it-alls.
     
  18. emmbai90

    emmbai90

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    Well it's no secret people are breeding morons these days, i mean my family are not the best ether they have their issues like other families these days but at least they taught me it's ok being myself and doing what i want to do (although they can be a little controlling sometimes).
    Parents generally just don't look after their kids any more though they just send them to the mall to get rid of them for a couple of hours even after school, then they get back home and they still have very little interaction with their parents as they are then shoved on a computer.

    I don't think the parents realize what they are doing any more as my parents act rather ignorant towards us having to be in separate rooms but still try to act happy families lol. Most people these days are learning about the world through their friends and that never goes well so they give into all sorts of influences because their friends told them that's how life is :\ i see it all too ofen wherever i go. Truth is people are jealous over anything, if you even so much as get a chocolate bar from a teacher they hate you, it's true schools are terrible now though and the paper work... i just can't do it, it's the last time (hopefully) i have to do paper work because we have to cram it in with our practical training and it's a total rush, one-size-fits-all doesn't work.
     
  19. sandsquid

    sandsquid

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    I was just fine until yesterday, we are currently the throws of gutting our residential kitchen and rebuilding it to our liking.  The glorious  fridge finally showed up and would not fit under the "above the fridge wall cabinet" by 1/4"! So in the process of pulling it off the wall I ripped my stitches out of my hand. That _really_ hurt!

     My wife, knowing I'm just a wee-bit OCD was really perplexed by the fact it did not fit, since I obsessed over (literally) every 1/16" of the kitchen design. Finally, it dawned on her and she asked me "When you measured the opening for the new fridge, did you take into account the thickness of the new mortar and floor tiles?

     I just had to chuckle to maintain my sanity
     
     
    My second week, one of the other students came up to me and said: "You actually ironed your apron, I would never waste my time doing that."
    I just looked at their rumpled uniform and said "Yeah, I can tell." and walked away.
     
  20. emmbai90

    emmbai90

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    Ouch! i hope i don't ever meet the pleasure of having stitches,  i always act extra careful when using sharp knives and i always keep my hand on top so if i have to look away i keep it there to make sure my knife don't slip, my favorite method is the sliding motion  as it dices through easy and safely even when looking away. I haven't learned the curled fingers method yet though and i'm scared when i do get to that lol.  I can understand the logic of not ironing your apron as it gets dirty so quickly and you have to take at least 2 extra aprons with you in case you splat tomato all over it but i know it's all about looking neat.