It had been a hot, night and I was tired of being restless so I rose early. The day was already promising to be summery and a splendid opportunity to take my camera out and capture some morning light.
In the park, I caught sight of her, moving soft and slow in aqua silk so I stayed out of sight to watch. She was performing what I practice and teach but at a level of litheness, I could only dream of attaining.
Once finished she picked up her cardigan and bag to go and I bounded over with barely restrained enthusiasm: “I too do Tai Chi” I said, hearing how lame those words sounded after her performance. Yet she was delighted and asked me to join her every morning.
And so I did. With embarrassed efforts I followed her every move, reminding myself yet again, that to be a good teacher we must never forget how awkward and challenged the student can feel. I knew my practice had plateaued at the same level of proficiency for a while whilst my own Tai Chi teaching to elderly students had grown stale.
Li Y’an was patient but particular, knowing how much and how often to correct my moves. But the date of her return to China loomed ever closer and I was keen to learn the next stage – Yang Form 40 moves. And so for the last couple of weeks she took time out of her own practice to go over and over the form until finally I could complete it on my own.
I was a fast learner. I had the sketchy outline. I could go on and do it on my own but Li Y’an had inspired me and sparked dedication and steadfastness to practice. That is what makes a good teacher.
Written for the Daily Prompt: We can be taught…What makes a teacher great?