CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – Each year, the Tennessee Council for Social Studies recognizes a handful of exceptional teachers throughout the state. Tarah Kemp uses her culinary skills to bring her lessons to life at Dupont Elementary, feeding her students minds and bodies.
Tarah describes herself as, “A passionate, fun, creative teacher who just absolutely wants to bring love for learning. I had a desire to, I’ve teased them recently I wanted to be a dolphin trainer, and that was a realistic dream of mine. Then I wanted it to be a midwife. I wanted to bring in babies to the world. So, it turns out as a result my passion lied with not just bringing babies but bringing joy and love, and that turned into the form of children. So, it worked out beautifully. The recent award was the Tennessee Teacher of the Year for social studies, and I hope that I inspire other teachers to be able to acquire this award as well. More importantly, it’s because of my cooking program. I think that is really what inspired the selection committee to look at what I’ve been doing. It’s where I am able to embed my social studies and writing standards into the culinary arts.”
Ruthie Panni is the Principal at DuPont.
She adds, “Whether she is in the classroom or in our culinary lab she ties everything she does to teaching social studies and science in the most creative ways. She views engaging kids as her number one priority and she does an incredible job doing that.”
Tarah explains, “So recognizing the need for cooking and the need of their every day life preparing them for real world skills, but then tying it into the things that I am expected to do as an educator. So, if I’m teaching Civil War I want them to learn what it was like to eat and live like a Civil War soldier. If they are experiencing the great depression in the fifth grade I want them to recognize why it was a big deal. And how can we connect it to the Covid crisis. And the rationing and being on a budget so it’s making a realistic connection from a historical context to a real world context.”
Ruthie adds,”She is a dedicated committed teacher who never thinks something is out of her reach, or out of her students reach. She is creative and energetic. And she is just done an incredible job of opening up the world for our kids.”
Tarah concludes, “I see these kids doing the absolute unimaginable, but I think they were weren’t impossible to do in the first place. I want them to be able to know that there is no boundary; that there are no limits to what they want to do, and I will be here to support them every step of the way.”