New face in foods class

Family Consumer Science teacher shares his first year experience

Paige Girardot, Managing and Design Editor

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There is a fresh face in the Elkhorn South foods department this year, but most have seen him around subbing in the school before. Moving from being a sub to a full time teacher has been no problem for new teacher Mr. Houfek.

“It definitely helped that I knew a lot of the students. On the first day of school I had class after class come in and it was so fun to be able to catch up with so many of the students and get to hear all about their summer, and hear about trips that they told me they were going to go on at the end of last year, or get an update on the job they had gotten in spring time,” Houfek said.

Mr. Houfek greatly values his relationships with the students and it is evident that he prioritizes the students.

“I love being able to see the students grow and develop. My favorite part of teaching is seeing a student struggle and get embarrassed when trying to do something like crack an egg, then at the end of the semester they are making things like pies, cakes, and stir fry with complete confidence,” Houfek said.

Not only does Mr. Houfek find joy in watching students developing their skills in foods class, but the class gives him a lot of time to be able to walk around and talk with students while they are working. He can talk to a student about a sport they are in, or a new job they just got while they are stirring something on the stove. He loves to give advice and tell stories to the students.

One word Mr. Houfek can use to describe his first year is “fun”. This year Mr. Houfek held the school’s first burger competition. Historically, foods classes have been dominated by girls, but with this competition Mr. Houfek is hoping to have more boys want to join the class as well. With success, this year his classes are about even when it comes to gender.

My favorite lesson of the year has probably been the burger competition. It was so fun to see all of the different groups trying to plan out how they were going to make their burger, and it was the first time they were really able to use their creativity in the kitchens, instead of just following a recipe. I was able to see all of the things they had learned come out in many different ways. They were all so into the competition and the competitive spirits were flowing,” Houfek said.

For the students who have not yet taken a foods class, Mr. Houfek highly recommends that they do so. Many students even admit that it has been their favorite class.

“The only complaint I have received are that the tests are hard. Yes, tests are not common sense. You will need to study for them. But if you do study for them, you will do great,” Houfek said.

A lack of experience in the kitchen is also no cause for concern.

“If you are scared about having no skill in the kitchen, that is ok. I try to be really nice and subtle if you don’t know how to do something. The last thing I want to do is embarrass someone,” Houfek said.