Friday, November 27, 2015

Teaching and other matters


It's quiet around Life Towers at the moment. Mr L had a cataract removed from his right eye on Tuesday and while it has improved his vision, it seems to have left him feeling a bit weary. In addition, the other grandmother is staying at Daughter 1's and so I've not been needed so much to entertain the little ones. Which is fine - quite restful - but I find it interesting how, when I haven't had so many commitments as usual, I somehow haven't achieved great things either. Hmm. Laziness spawns further laziness, I suppose.

Not that I've been totally lazy: the usual cooking, ironing, Zumba, coffee with friends, piano lesson, piano practice and so on have been going on. And it's been church magazine week, which is always quite time-consuming (I edit it). 

I'm slightly surprised that I'm still going to Zumba. I think I started four years ago and I'm definitely not an athletic, bendy or extrovert person. But I'm reasonably energetic and might well have taken up aerobics in retirement (after a lapse of 30 years) if a friend hadn't been going to Zumba - she immediately dropped out because it hurt her knees but I stayed on. The great thing about being in a class is that no one is looking at anyone else, since they're all watching the teacher and following his moves, so I don't need to be embarrassed at my lack of grace.

Before we got this teacher, I quite liked the class but did it mainly for the exercise (and the chat with other class members beforehand). But the chap we've had for the past year is somehow so much better than the various girls we had before. For one thing, he's reliable - we had teachers before who didn't last long or who kept being off. But it's not just that, and as a former teacher myself I always find it interesting to analyse what makes good teaching.

He's great to watch - he's also a ballet, tap and ballroom teacher - because he's very bouncy, flexible and graceful. Of course, not all of this would be easy to transfer to teaching maths, for example. Bouncing opportunities are a bit limited for academic subjects. But I find his attitude towards the class very interesting. About half of them are about my age - though some are considerably younger - and you might expect his heart to sink at the thought of teaching a bunch of old ladies. But he always seems to be enjoying himself tremendously. I imagine it's very pleasurable to dance when you're really good at it. It's more than that, though: he manages to give the impression that he enjoys showing us the steps and seeing us give them a go. He's good fun and very encouraging but also not at all patronising. He laughs a lot with (apparent) delight. Obviously it's possible that it's all an act, but if so, it's an excellent act.

To a woman, we all think he's wonderful and look forward to the class.

I think back on various teachers I had at school and university, and the ones who seemed to enjoy teaching were usually the most effective. I myself enjoyed teaching - most of the time - and hope that this came across.

An hour of energetic dancing is absolutely exhausting, though, so I'm hoping it's also extremely good for us.





12 comments:

  1. Zumba is very good for you because it gets all your muscles moving and is great exercise. Unfortunately, I dropped my gym membership, so I now have to run and do yard work for my exercise. You are absolutely correct! Students will always do more for the caring, energetic teachers than for the ones who just go through the motions.

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  2. Four years is a long time! I am sure you are very good by now - you must take a video and share it for us all :)

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  3. You'll be lucky, Lynley!

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  4. One of my pals had a longterm zumba teacher just like yours (also a bloke) and he inspired the same sort of loyalty and commitment in his class. Somehow I've never found one who I feel the same about....must try again as a regular class is such a boost to your exercise regime.

    Enjoy the period of calm before the next storm.

    Lesley xx

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  5. Hope Mr L is doing well....and I applaud you for doing any sort of exercise..I am a real couch potato.

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  6. I think I would probably fall over within minutes of trying Zumba.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Mr Life.

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  7. I need to find some sort of regular exercise, but it is difficult to decide where to begin....I do like the description of your teacher...I've always heard a good part of teaching is developing enthusiasm in your students.

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  8. As a dance teacher who has many mature students, I have to say teaching them does not at all make my heart sink! We have the best fun, and all achievements (like remembering to do arms as well as feet, or remembering a routine on their own, or conquering a tricky step) are more special in a way, because it's obviously harder for them. Also, it's nice because we have great chats and a lot of fun and laughs. I adore my older adult learners.

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  9. I have stuck with my Pilates class for seven years now because my teacher is so good. I joined on her first day of teaching and not only is she completely reliable but she still manages to sound as though she is giving you directions for the first time and really cares about all of us. I've tried Zumba and found it very energising but haven't got a teacher nearby with a good recommendation. I hope Mr L gets his oomph back soon.

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  10. As a woman, I can say that having an athletic, bouncy, graceful, smiling man to look at while I work out would be a GREAT inspiration to continue going to class! *wink*

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  11. Darn it! Why didn't we go to Zumba when I was over there??? It sounds like you have the perfect teacher -- and a man! That would be really fun! Our Zumba class morphed into a cross between dance moves and turbo kick stuff and we had the cutest little teacher. She was young, and like you said, seemed to really enjoy teaching us old ladies. And we enjoyed watching some of her moves -- moves that involved hip movements that we could never get the timing of -- we called them her stripper moves. And, when the occasional man joined our class, she conveniently left those out -- which was a good thing -- I always suspected the men were only there to watch her cute little body. Anyway, her little boy has been seriously ill, so she doesn't teach us anymore. We now move to a video tape and it's very boring LOL.

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  12. I follow your erudite expose on teaching, but does it actually just boil down to this man being easy on the eye???

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