Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

On being a bridge teacher

Each year when I read about the finalists I am amazed at not only how much their students love them but also what exceptional people they are.  They are exceptional in life, not just at the bridge table.

They are all people who know how to give of themselves and they inspire me to be better than I am.  I hope you will take a few moments to read their stories when they are posted on facebook.

This year the plan was to have 5 finalist, one from each part of the continent: Canada, NorthWest USA, NorthEast USA, SouthWest USA, NorthWest USA.  But in some cases the selectors just couldn’t pick from the wonderful candidates in their region.  So there are 7 finlaists.

2012 Finalists:

Carol Lee Bellam    Calgary, Alberta Canada

Verna Goldberg        Louisville, Kentucky

Kathy Rolfe               Lake Winnebago, Missouri

Dave Glandorf           Houston, Texas

Mary Jane Orock        Fort Worth, Texas

Rich Rothwarf             Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jeff Schuett                 Riverwoods, Illinois

Ray and I have been teaching two bridge classes here in the Landings, Sarasota.  One is a beginner and one is an intermediate.   As the weeks have rolled along I have come to appreciate the wonderful bridge teachers who are candidates for teacher of the year even more. 

Lessons Learned

1. You need to be prepared.  I used to think you could just “wing” it.  I know a lot about bridge and I can see interesting things in any bridge hand. I know how to count winners and how to count points and what makes up a good hand.  BUT, if you don’t think it all through and prepare for your lessons than you just aren’t going to communicate the information to your students. 

2. You can’t go slow enough.  For many of the people I teach bridge is a fascinating new world.  But what is obvious to me (I have played bridge for about 40 years) is not obvious to somebody who is just learning.  The students sometimes just don’t get it even when Ray or I have explained over and over what seems obvious to us. 

3.  Theatrics Work: The game is so rich with so many wonderful ideas that you need to work hard to convey your message/  The other day I had the students chant “Lead honors from the short hand first” many times.  I think next year I will definitely get a captains hat to explain the idea of being the captain of the auction (thanks Tina Redding, ABTA Teacher of the year 2010,  for the idea).

 4. Make it Fun: This is a leisure activity.  Our students are not preparing for a career.  We want them to enjoy themselves and enjoy bridge.

Corollary to 4: Playing hands is much more fun than listening to the teacher.  Play lots of hands.

There are many more lessons to be learned but I am even more impressed with the wonderful men and women who bring the joy of our game to people across North America,

There were ties in the Southwestern quadrant  and the Northeastern quadrant of the US — thus a total of 7 finalists. There are some new names and some carrovers from previous years.

Congratulations to all these people.  You inspire me.

1 Comment

dave memphis MOJO smithFebruary 22nd, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Congrats to the finalists! I actually know four of them.

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