blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

All teachers!

Two aunts, an uncle and a cousin of mine were or have been teachers for most of their lives, and my parents met at an "Emergency" Teacher Training college in England after my father had been demobbed at the end of World War 2; he taught music in high schools from 1948 till 1980. When I graduated I went straight into high school teaching myself: French and German. Later, I gave some adult classes in those languages too.

Installation by Anselm Kiefer at Barjac, France
I don't work as a teacher any longer, not officially anyhow, although even now it seems I'm often in surreptitious teacher mode, as happened last Thursday for instance when I was introducing my friends in our German conversation group to something they didn't know before. Last Thursday it was the life and works of the modern artist Anselm Kiefer.
Er ist einer der bedeutendsten deutschen Künstler der Gegenwartskunst, der die Schrecken der Geschichte visualisiert. Für Anselm Kiefer gibt es keine Landschaft, die nicht symbolischer Raum ist.
Kiefer's art itself is didactic. He reminds me of Ai Weiwei.

To my delight, one of the ladies had brought her 16 year old daughter along, who speaks excellent German and who's an aspirant artist in her own right, so my choice of subject was a lucky one. We read the short articles I'd found about Kiefer and I passed pictures of his artwork around, which the girl was pleased to take home afterwards.

This week the German group is going to be talking about something completely different, and straight after that I have to go to another meeting where I've been asked to teach some of the others computer techniques, such as how to use Facebook! I'm not really much of a computer expert, but "in the country of the blind," comments my husband, "the one-eyed man is king."

I'm still surrounded by a family of teachers. One of the most satisfying parts of my husband's job is the training he gives. Last week I logged on and heard him giving a Webinar on "The Paradox of Dynamic Software Testing," similar to his presentation in Sindelfingen, Stuttgart, in December. He gave another (software safety) training course today, four hours long, and one of the recipients complimented him by saying those hours had flown by. Coincidentally my daughter was also on her feet today and yesterday, she too giving a training course at work, telling us,
I was thrilled to get this feedback to a solid hour of mathematics:
"When I opened up the booklet beforehand and saw all that maths, I was far away from believing I could enjoy the session. I could not have been more wrong as this turned out to be my favourite! I finally understood what “covariance” means!"
Now it's time to go home to do the other job that is both exhausting and rewarding: being a mother.
She's going to a Royal Society symposium in May, to talk about "Low uncertainty thermodynamic temperature assignment to high temperature fixed points." (?!)

Last November, my son was one of the guest speakers for a symposium on navigation at Harvard's Radcliffe Institute in Boston. He was explaining to the audience how the detection of pulsars may one day be used for navigation in outer space, and perhaps even on earth. (His talk starts 26 minutes into this recording: click on this link.)

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