Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?
My first school in London
There is absolutely no teacher whatsoever that had an impact on my life, positive or negative. From the age of 5 until 17 years I attended school. I achieved a lot, thanks to some teachers and thanks to myself, revising for examinations in order to pass, having certain targets in life that I wanted to achieve. Did I achieve them? More or less. I always had a hang to living in another country, being independent and perhaps through being at the right place at the right time and taking advantage of the opportunities I discovered, I achieved my goal.
At the age of twenty I found a job advertised in the local newspaper for Switzerland, applied and was accepted. At the same time there was a job advertised for Hamburg in Germany, where I also applied. I received an answer to say that the job in Hamburg was already occupied. On my first holiday from Switzerland my mother gave me a letter from the company in Hamburg saying that the job was again open and I was the first choice. So who knows, if I had decided to go to Hamburg my life may had taken a different turn. No Mr. Swiss, no family in Switzerland and no knowledge of Swiss German, although my command of Hamburgisch would probably have been perfect.
I learnt Russian for twelve years in Switzerland, so all the vocabulary learnt was on a German speaking basis. My teacher was a Czech, but her actual foreign languages were Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindi. She was a student of the Indian languages. Her Russian knowledge was achieved from the Czech school system. I attended sewing classes for fifteen years. Mainly because I was tall and my proportions were not exactly tailor made. I had a super teacher. She was a professional dress maker and for many years my clothes were all handmade by myself: everyday wear including winter coats and costumes. I also learnt to make trousers for the children.
I then decided to learn how to make web sites. In the meanwhile computers were part of daily life and took a course for web assistant. I passed the final exam and again had a good teacher. He really took time to explain. Towards the end I almost gave up, but he insisted I take the exam, and I passed. Even completed my own web site which was on Internet for a time and also later made a web site for the village first aid organisation of which I was a member.
Today I am retired and just do what I want to. My next brainy idea was Tai Chi. I had a couple of colleagues (from Internet) who I had never met, but were very positive about its advantages. I had a look around in my area and found an ideal course. I am absolutely not the keep fit type, and gymnastics and such were my pet hates at school. Nothing to do with dislike of the teachers. They were just doing their work, but I was no good and jumping over high objects, climbing ropes or doing handstands. I seemed to have too many legs and feet and they were all distributed in the wrong places.
Tai Chi is different. I have been attending my course for about four months. We are only a small group eight people, all of us more or less golden oldies, with the exception of perhaps one person who is a little younger. Our “teacher” is a physiotherapeut and just perfect. I am even making progress and learning something worthwhile. An escape from the stress of daily life. I have also found it very beneficial to my general state of health. I still have balance problems, but now know how to improve them. I just love those slow movements combined with breathing at the right time in the right place. I practice once a day for half an hour and it is fun. I sometimes still feel like an elefant in a porcelain shop, not quite the wonderful silky smooth movements that the experts have, but our “teacher” says it all takes time, so I hope I am still around when I have achieved the perfect movements.