Hello, my name is Mary. I’m a Course Junkie. I am addicted to learning. It’s been six hours since I’d learnt anything. I was sleeping.
Maybe I lied. I know I was at least trying to learn something in my dreams. The first thought in my head when I woke up this morning was: look it up. Before I washed the sleep off my face or made my first cup of tea, I went to my computer. I wanted to learn how to change fonts on my blog so I logged on and asked Google. I think I now know how but I don’t think it’s worth the trouble.
Last night, I had an early dinner at my local Thai eatery with my friend, Angela. Sorry, no photo of my Duck Noodle Soup. Angela is a real writer – a journalist who gets paid for her words. We spoke of our insatiable appetite for learning and course bingeing. She asked me what I’d learnt in as natural a tone as asking what movie I’d seen (that’s what my non addict friend would ask). She wondered if I’d picked up a new language since we last met.
I was excited and abashed at the same time to volunteered that I’d just learnt how to knit Tunisian style. I described the long crochet hook as if it was invented yesterday instead of being in use for centuries. Queen Victoria was an expert at it. I wished I’d brought my first piece for a show and tell. Angela lifted an eyebrow and asked if I took a course on Tunisian knitting.
We are both teachers. Angela is a real teacher; she gets paid at the University. I am a volunteer and have given classes on many subjects from English to calligraphy, story telling to paper flower making, for free. We had a session on the poor teachers we’ve had and swore, again, never to take another course.
I told Angela that I’d ‘taught myself’ how to knit Tunisian style but of course I lied. I learnt it on Youtube where you can find out how to do almost anything by watching videos. It took two days to learn, design and complete my first scarf. That’s not like taking a course. Is it?
I’ve been going to my local community centre for Pottery. Sure there’s a tutor and he demonstrate techniques but we all do our own thing. Sure he’s there to answer questions and solve problems but it’s not like being in class. Is it?
I’m thinking of spending a month living in another country next year. Maybe in Amsterdam, or Barcelona, or Edinburg. I might have to learn Dutch, or Spanish or Scottish English–but I won’t be taking a course. I think I’m cured.