Teaching them what needs the learning of it.

I have been watching, with interest, a video tutorial on how to fold a made item back into a bag which is part of it.

In the opinion of this blogger who could not set up a film studio at home for toffee (be grateful) this facility is far too easy to access for those who have the platform but nothing to put on it.

The teacher of how to fold this into that, got it wrong twice before there was a break in the video, during which she went off to someone else’s site and watched how to do it.  Sadly, by the time she returned to her own broadcast the knowledge had wriggled through her fingers and off down the drain that is Tinternet.  Twice more she paused, to absorb the knowledge that would classify her as an expert, were she only able to teach what she knew and each time what she knew proved to be less than she had hoped.  The more she struggled, the less she knew.  If only I knew how to embed the reference to take you to the video you could watch it yourself, however you will not struggle to find would-be professors of this and that online, a few may know what they are on about and even fewer may be able to transmit their knowledge.

I always underrate my teaching skills even though I have taught probably hundreds of dyslexic readers with my own system, which always works in two hours twice a week for two years.  The S&H has inherited my skills and can talk the most terrified through anything computer-related and make them think it’s their own cleverness, without speeding up the pace or raising his voice one scintilla.  Last week he talked me through getting my printer working again, which involved reading numbers, (big ones) out of the inside of the machine (right inside near the little fused wires, all written in gibberish.)  By the time the printer worked I felt as if I had successfully fought several dragons and won and he didn’t even smirk, and I am his mother.

However, in the matter of teaching the grandchildren………………

I offered to teach them to read by video conference call at the start of the lockdown.  I was greeted with disbelief:  You couldn’t teach them because we can’t even make them sit down. How are you going to make them sit down?

Teaching lesson One, you know.

The OH is in line for worst teacher of the century.  He cannot demonstrate, just takes over, does the task with swearing and then goes away.  The S&H might have been a million pound footballer if the OH, requested when the S&H was a baby, to teach him to catch a ball hadn’t just thrown it at him, said ‘Oh you are hopeless’ and walked off.  The S&H was about ten months old.  I would have done it but was too occupied in running him through the interrogative pluperfect and similar joys.  Should I not have attended to his ball skills as well?

Tinternet is a seemingly inexhaustible source of inexpert help.  I am reminded of my dim cousin teaching me how to smoke cigarettes.  We purchased two cigarettes and one match in a small conical paper bag at the local sweet shop and them walked the area around the shop.  ‘Suck,’ she instructed, and, a moment later, ‘blow.’

It was harder to unlearn the habit thirty years later, which I did on my own.

I failed miserably at playing the piano, which was a mixture of my own reluctance to practise and a terrible teacher.  She would let me in and I had to admire what she was wearing.  I sat at the instrument and then had to admire her legs, poking like two sticks for building a fire out of the bottom of her none-too-clean pleated skirt.  To this day if anyone asks if they have good legs, it takes me right back.  I began with scales and, as soon as I was settled into them, she would pop off to the kitchen for a nip of sherry.  Mostly, if I faltered, at the start of the lesson she would remember to put the glass down before appearing at the door to give instruction.  She also taught Latin from ‘Teach yourself Latin’ and I knew more than she did from lesson one.  Her main trick was to write : Caesar adsum iam forte  and read it out as Caesar had some jam for tea and then laugh, less at the start of the lesson and more as the bottle depleted.  I eventually mentioned the sherry to my mother, hoping to avoid lessons altogether but was sent elsewhere to fail my first exam and give up.

There are demonstrators aplenty on shopping television and online.  The good ones are in short supply and the dreadful ones are hilarious.  The television camera does nothing to indicate who is a successful teacher and who is pants until the sales roll in or roll away.  There is nothing quite as good as 120 children from a sink estate on a Friday afternoon and just me to keep them instructed and entertained, for accelerated learning in teach yourself teaching.

It’s interesting learning, teaching, what you mainly learn about at first, is yourself.

And, of course, how to put the blanket back in the bag (had another look, no still no joy.)


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