Teaching Chinese Calligraphy

I never imagined that I would be teaching Chinese Calligraphy.  I am not a calligrapher; I am not a teacher.

I was assisting my teacher who IS a master calligrapher by tutoring the newbies in class with their basic strokes, something that I wished someone had done for me.  When I became a member of the University of the Third Age, I felt I needed to give something back to the organisation and with my teacher’s approval, started an Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy course, almost a decade ago.  Later,  when I was asked to offer courses at MOSAIC, a multicultural centre, I volunteered to teach English there.

Although I was trained by Adult Migrant Education Services to teach English to new migrants, Sun, the administrator at MOSAIC read my resumé and immediately insisted that I teach Chinese Calligraphy instead.  So one way or another, I find myself teaching Chinese Calligraphy though I have not mastered the art; that would take a lifetime of focus and I am too distracted for that.  I am an urban orchardist, a story teller, a poet and many other things and I enjoy volunteering, so I do.

Some of my detractors think me arrogant to be teaching the art, but what I do is simply sharing what I’d learnt, for free.  Some of my friends think that they’re better at it than I am and THEY wouldn’t even dare teach it; what makes me think I’m qualified to do so? One of my students also challenged me about it, but I noticed that she has enrolled for a third term; what’s going on?

I remain humble.  Humility is not about thinking less of oneself, but thinking of oneself less often.  I think about the students when I teach.  What do they need to know?  How can they be motivated?  What sort of course material can I source for their benefit?  The fact that I am neither a calligrapher nor a professional teacher does not enter my head.

That’s a fact; so what?

My new Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners course starts May 3; half the enrolled students have attended my classes for more than two terms.  They and students like them are the reasons for my being a teacher; it’s not about me.


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7 Responses to Teaching Chinese Calligraphy

  1. Jan Schaper says:

    A great post, Mary, on what it really takes to make a difference in the world: humility, commitment, thinking of others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. taphian says:

    don’t sell yourself short, Mary, you are a good teacher because you ask yourself what your students would like to know. Have a nice day, regards Mitza

    Liked by 2 people

  3. wfdec should know. It is true

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wfdec says:

    Some of the best teachers don’t have the ‘right’ qualifications. But they do have a way of understanding their students and they learn as much from their students as the students learn from them.

    Liked by 2 people

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