Learning – Oct 1978, Sept 1999

submitted to https://godoggocafe.com/2022/05/02/promote-yourself-mondays-may-2-2022/

October 1978 – Teaching I Teach Orientation

I am teaching my first adult learner beginners’ class of English in a community college in the far south of West Germany.

In front of me – 10, 15 mostly retired people, who want to give it a shot.
I have just asked them about their motivation to learn English now, and heard a variety of interests; all, however, breathing the excitement of six-year-olds, heading for school the first day – expecting a new world to open up .
So, I suppose, it is a meaningful coincidence, that many of my students give as their first motivation – to be able to help their grandchildren, who are just beginning to learn the language at school.

Some want to travel to Britain and be able to find their way around Big Ben without too much embarrassment.
Eager, with bright eyes they are looking at me.

Making sense
of a new word – all here now;
round world

“We look at things differently now.
We enjoy and gain far more out of paintings,
literature and architecture.
Even TV programmes have an extra dimension.” (Adult Learner)

In 1999, I had another glimpse into what I can teach.

At the end of my last class teaching nursing students applied psychology,

the best student of the class, which had been with me for the three years I was teaching at that college, now finishing their training stayed behind and made a point of thanking me. At first I brushed it off like ‘whatever for’. But when the young man shook his head, ever so slightly irritated, I was stopped in my track and acknowledged his thanks. I had been trying to teach a humanistic psychology, including patients finding meaning and – nurses being challenged in mere do-goodery. Of course, I had met resistance from most of the young students. After I  left, I realised that silent majority had been secretly fed by the head of school whereas the external examiner from their supervising Authority had praised me too.

In the end that moment in the class room, as I stood up straight, opposite my student, became one of my yard sticks in life.

———————————

Short version first published by World Haiku Review online, ca. 2002, titled Teaching I Teach Orientation

~ by Barbara S on February 2, 2013.

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