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.