Green Goddess Dressing

September 3, 2013

The first year I taught high school English, I learned about the brutality that is the Newbie Pecking Order. In short, when new teachers report to school in June to receive their class assignment list for fall, they realize one thing.

They’ve been freshly fucked.

It’s just the way it works. New teacher = crap classes that nobody else wants to teach. It’s like fraternity hazing, but with Master’s degrees.

Thank goodness I was one of three new teachers that year, so I didn’t get all of the rotten stuff. Some poor clod got yearbook, which is where English teachers go to die.

What I did get? 2 public speaking classes and 3 classes of sophomore English.

I didn’t know jack about public speaking, so I was grateful that I had the summer to prepare. But sophomore English didn’t sound so bad–I mean, hey. Catcher in the Rye and The Chocolate War were on the reading list. How bad could that be?

As I was studying my course roster, a veteran teacher passed by and glanced at my schedule.

“Shit. Awww, man. You got sophomores.”

I didn’t understand. “Yeah. Soooo?”

“Sophomores stink. I mean, truly. They smell really bad. Something weird goes on with hormones sophomore year that makes them all smell like week-old undies.”

This was news to me. Mental list to self: buy Glade Plug-ins for classroom.

“Also?” veteran teacher continued. “Sophomores think everything sucks.”


“Everything. School sucks, you suck, the reading sucks, everyone in the class sucks, the world sucks, life sucks. Sophomores. The year of suckage.”

“Are you just messing with me? It can’t be that bad…”

“Look at the reading list, kiddo. Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield whines for hundreds of pages and hates everyone except his dead brother and his little sister. The Chocolate War. Shy, skinny kid stands up for himself and gets crushed by the universe. A Separate Peace. Jealous kid pushes his best friend out of a tree and cripples him for life. Julius Caesar. E tu, Brute?”

I sat there, immobilized, as her pity turned to mirth.

“I mean, Jesus, they even threw in Flannery O’Connor for shits and grins. Nothing like a guy who steals some girl’s prosthetic leg to give you faith in humanity.”

I felt my bubbly, brand-new teacher mojo drain right out the window.

But that veteran teacher? Spot-on about sophomores. I was actually grateful for the warning–what if I’d gone in cold–oblivious to sophomore suckage?

The first two months of teaching were pretty brutal. I was breakfast food. But then, something weirdo happened. My sophomores thought I sucked and I thought they sucked and somehow, we found humor in mutual suckage. Black, black, misanthropic humor. Kind of a high school version of a Tarantino movie. And from then on, we got along just fine. By the end of the year, I sort of loved my sophomores, in the way that you can love something like, say, a baby water moccasin.

When it was time for new class assignments, I was ready. I had figured out the stigmata of sophomore and was up for the challenge. Bring it, bitches!

My roster: 2 public speaking, 3 freshman English classes.

Freshman English?

What the fuck?

The world is a cruel, cruel place.

A freshly hired whipping boy named Spencer now had sophomores to deal with. Did I warn him? I ain’t telling. Besides, I was too busy learning the language of “freshman.”

The one saving grace about my schedule change was that I got to teach mythology, and mythology is just about the coolest thing in the world. Even die-hard school haters dig mythology. Mythology got me through the grossness of having to teach Romeo and Juliet and Of Mice and Men. Mythology, you rock.

Now lest you think my fragile, dewy-eyed freshmen melted my black heart, let me assure you. My black heart was just as fit and snarky as ever.

I assigned my students independent, multi-media research projects for the mythology unit. Haha! Way to suck the joy out of mythology, Teach!

And then I waited, like a spider in the corner.

My reward came when an unwitting freshman, too lackadaisical to bother himself with learning things like proper pronunciation, strode to the front of the class and said:

“Hi, I’m ___________. And I am going to talk about….Per-sa-phone.”

It never got old, guys! It didn’t!

Every year, some kid got “Per-sa-phone,” and I cackled and clapped my hands like the Medusa. Public humiliation. is. awesome. It makes the day pass so much faster.

Clearly, I was a teaching natural.

**it’s time to get to the point now, so cue: awkward segue**



The first week of school, Miss M. came wagging home from school with a library book that she was really excited to read with me. Subject matter: mythology! So then I got excited and we immediately sat down in our mutual excitement to read the book.


Total snoozer and dud of a book.

How can you make mythology boring?! It’s crazy, deformed creatures and vengeful gods and flying horses, for Chrissakes.

Luckily, I had this one covered. We shut the book and I told stories and it was a rare parenting win. All too rare, I hate to say, but I’m taking it.

And then I made Green Goddess Salad Dressing to go over little cherry tomatoes and baby carrots from the garden. I was hoping that the promise of eating “Goddess Salad” would entice Miss M. to consume a vegetable without extortion or force.

Silly Mommy.

As if.




Green Goddess Salad Dressing

makes about 2 cups

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

4-5 cups baby spinach leaves

1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/3 cup fresh tarragon leaves

1 ripe avocado

1 shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2-3 anchovies, or to taste (don’t skip ’em! No one will know!)


Directions: Whizz all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with enthusiasm. Eat entire batch yourself.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon September 3, 2013 at 10:23 am

I actually hated mythology. But I was Sophomore when I took it, so that explains my hating of it. And, having had a sophomore in my house last year, I can say that you are spot on. By the end of the year, her usual positive attitude darkened a bit. Now she’s a junior and the happy is back, for now.

Oh yeah. I didn’t notice any special odors, so maybe that was just the boys!


TKW September 3, 2013 at 10:40 am


Juniors are awesome. Loved ’em. Glad she got her happy back!


Pam September 3, 2013 at 10:27 am

I am currently reading “Don’t know much about mythology”, ’cause I think Mythology is pretty cool.

I’ve got me a shy, skinny boy – should I have him read the Chocolate War to prepare for High School?

My sister has recently become a teacher – middle school science. She taught for two years in Karval, CO, and one in the Thompson school district – she was non-renewed end of last year. She is a good teacher, but having a hell of a time figuring out ‘classroom management’, and school politics.


TKW September 3, 2013 at 10:43 am


re: Chocolate War…the message isn’t too promising, but it’s a good book. Although I must warn you that masturbation is mentioned :)

Re: your sister. Middle schoolers are SO frigging overloaded with chugging hormones that their synapses stop firing. Tell her to try high school? Still brutal, but not completely f-ing futile!


TKW September 4, 2013 at 7:53 pm

PPS: Cupid don’t draw back your bow/Sam Cooke didn’t know what I know/Never be your Valentine/Sleepwalker ahead/God only knows how I tried…

And this is what my husband calls “listening to the WRONG DYLAN.”Eh. So sue me.


Jane September 3, 2013 at 10:32 am

There must be something weird about me but I loved teaching sophomores. Freshman were too squirrelly for me, Juniors only cared about the grade and Seniors were typically already checked out. But then, I’m truly weird. Because pouring green on greens doesn’t sound redundant to me. Can’t wait to try this dressing!


TKW September 3, 2013 at 10:44 am


Once I got used to them, I loved sophomores.


Kristen @ Motherese September 4, 2013 at 7:33 am

Another vote in favor of sophomores, and for exactly the reasons Jane listed. I taught them every year and loved them more than any other grade. (But I’m also truly weird. Green on greens? Bring it on. And my second favorite grade to teach? 7th!)



Shelley September 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Too funny. I had a high school teacher who referred to Grade Ten classes (sophomore year) as the “uglies.”
He said they all smelled and didn’t seem to fit in their bodies properly.
Looking back at yearbook pictures? Yeah… Kind of true!


TKW September 4, 2013 at 6:26 am


“The Uglies.” I like it. I’m stealing it!


Tiffany September 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I didn’t get sucky classes…but I did get sucky teaching partner. Boo. Sophs do kinda suck. Teenage angst and all that.


TKW September 4, 2013 at 6:27 am

Ugh! I think a sucky teaching partner might be worse!


Jamie September 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Been teaching sophomores for two years. They smell like a dog shit and old period blood smoothie but I love them anyway!!!


TKW September 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm


My 11-year old smells like that smoothie. Kill me now.


Foodiewife September 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Too funny. I work at a high school as you know Counseling department. True on the stinky sophomores. I have a TA who desperately needs to learn about deodorant. I don’t have the heart to tell him. Yet. This is my favorite salad dressing. Ever. Never made it, but it’s on my bucket list.


TKW September 4, 2013 at 6:28 am


Invest in a Costco box of Plug-ins!


Barbara September 4, 2013 at 3:52 am

Sophomores smell? Honestly, the things I learn when I visit you. Trying to think back….nope, too long ago.
And mythology? They teach mythology in grade school? Personally, I think they ought to be teaching geography instead. God, I am getting old.
Re Green Goddess: our Ina Friday dish this month is salad. I’ve made her Green Goddess and even took photos of it, but decided on avocado and grapefruit. I’m so lazy with this group, I just go to drafts and find Ina recipes to post. Perhaps I ought to opt out as I’m not exactly putting forth my best efforts.


TKW September 4, 2013 at 6:31 am


I was in a monthly Ina group but I got bored so I quit. Glad I can hang onto your interest with stinky kid anecdotes ;0


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes September 4, 2013 at 4:37 am

Oh man, Pers a Phone… I would have been cackling right there with you!
And I adore Mythology… that is the benefit of being a History Major, you get to adore mythology and don’t have to apologize for it.


TKW September 4, 2013 at 6:32 am


Never apologize! Mythology rocks!


Jennifer September 4, 2013 at 9:07 am

I would have LOVED to have you for a teacher. And I want to try this dressing. It sounds divine.


tracy@sellabitmum September 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

I hated all of my high school English teachers. Maybe because I hated taking English class and just wanted to double-up on math..because OMG MATH! And then they put me in honors English which pretty much made me die a slow death as we had to discuss the symbolism of Madame Bovary and Lord Jim. The fuck. I will never forgive Ms. Carmony for that crap of a year when all I wanted to do was MORE CALCULUS!

But I’m sure I would’ve loved you as a teacher. But you’re younger than I weird.



Devon September 4, 2013 at 11:58 am

Long time no see! Nothing like some student harassment to put a smile on my face.


TKW September 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm


You enjoyed math? Damn. And I thought I liked you. Charlatan!


And if you had to read “MaDamn Ovaries” and Lord Jim in HS English, I won’t hold you culpable. You have just reason.

I will never recover from Bartleby the Scrivener, so I know whereof you speak.



Sherri September 4, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I taught writing / English to college freshmen; now there’s an interesting lot! And…. believe it or not, I have a little soft spot for them. Got teary when some of my older daughter’s friends went off to college this year…. poor, pathetic, misguided, lonely souls (sniff). Too much? Love the dressing…. going to try it asap (you had me at avocado).


Caitlin September 4, 2013 at 7:00 pm

very sweet post, TKW! i don’t teach any grade, but i don’t remember sophomore year being that bad! haha.. i must have been in denial or surrounded by air fresheners ;)


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me September 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm

“…yearbook, which is where English teachers go to die.” Yup. I live this. You can’t get paroled off yearbook. Couple that with a five-year stint in the honest-to-God publishing world and you are on death row, baby. For. Ev. Er. It is a thankless job and no one really understands that it is a wicked hard time-suck. I do, however, kinda like sophomores, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one. They are my favorite of the four high school classes. Maybe it’s because that’s the year we do American lit and that is my particular favorite. I think I like the change in them from still immature to young adults – they go from “oh wow we aren’t the babies in the school anymore” to “holy crap I have a driver’s license” during the year and it’s incredibly fun to watch.


TKW September 5, 2013 at 7:54 am


And what IS it that happens to boys during the summer between sophomore and junior year? They leave as scrawny sophomores and three months later, they’re these muscular MEN. It’s crazy.


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me September 5, 2013 at 2:13 pm

They definitely change in stature between those two years. No idea. If I could explain the phenomena, maybe I’d be independently wealthy. :)


TKW September 8, 2013 at 12:23 pm


We need to patent that shit.


Arnebya September 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

So I really want to try the dressing but why come you is forcing me to do the anchovies, kitchylee? Why? If ain’t nobody gonna know…

Also, please don’t say whizz it up. Makes me think of pee. But I guess it’s better than saying Jizz because…oh, looka there. I done gone off topic. Nevamine.



pamela September 11, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I would have loved your class. For many reasons, including that the projects weren’t group projects. Can’t wait to make this dressing. It’s one of my favorites.


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