Watch the scene from Mariinsky Ballet “The Waltz of Flowers” (Nutcracker)
Our first English teacher Doba Mikhailovna Einstein was a magician, and we, her students of Grade 5 of Bryansk All Girls’ School #1 even did not realize it. Look at her photo to the left and ours below.
I counted honestly, we were 34 pupils in 1952, we were all teenagers.
Because every time when she came into our classroom, all 34 pairs of naive, admiring eyes stared at her, expecting something new, something unusual.
The foreign language, the English language in particular, was taught at Grade 5 for the first time as well as many other subjects after 4-years elementary school education.Upon finishing call-up Doba Mikhailovna used to open her carry-on, a big old-fashioned, bulky brief case. And picked up some objects, such as cups, sauces, a little kettle, cutlery, showing them to us and naming those objects in English. All was beautiful, fine and nice like in the pictures here and there. Later becoming a teacher myself, I understood that was a very smart pedagogical trick for better and quicker understanding, including the visual memory aid.
Daily, four times a week, that was our schedule for the English language studies, Doba Mikhailovna displayed a few things out of her magic case, lifting them up and explaining to us new rules of pronunciation, grammar, spelling.
Alla Lukashevich, one of my school mates of that time, put it in such words:” What I knew of English, it was because of Doba Mikhailovna, although we had different English teachers later”. “You are right, Alla. I have the same feeling.”
The first English teacher as the first love was never forgotten by us.
We loved Doba Mikhailovna so much that some dedicated verses to her, some painted a portrait of her, copying from the only one school photo where we were photographed all together, that was the only one at our disposal. To the right Alla’s drawing of Doba Mikhailovna’s portrait. Isn’t it wonderful? Yes, indeed.
Here are where from the roots of our creativity which helps us through the life.
A magic wand of Doba Mikhailovna was spread among all of us, 34. In big amounts or small ones, but it was settled down firmly in us forever. And we all were then 12 or 13 years old. Thanks to Alla Lukashevich’ s courtesy we have these old photos.
Thinking back about myself, about my passion for English, I came to a conclusion: that was Doba Mikhailovna’s kind charms and spells which I am carrying on.
“Alla, do you know what? I’ll tell you a secret as friend to friend. When I am scribbling this article, I am writing it in English and then translating it into Russian. And my native language is, as you know, Russian. But in Canada I am thinking in English and it’s been always with me.
I did not know the reason before. I could not explain this phenomenon in me. Now I know for sure, and you helped me to realize that. It is a magic of our wonderful teacher Doba Mikhailovna”.
Listen to the song:Alla Pugacheva and Vladimir Kuzmin-“Two Stars”
“Two continents merged in me,
North America and Euro-Asia,
The fact is interesting as a movie,
Of human thoughts and creation.
What reason and on what occasion,
Life turned into that direction,
I put myself the same question,
No answer. A real persuasion.
The two languages are likewise,
Getting along in simple brain,
Beautiful Russian and English nice,
Found their comfort and domain.
When Doba Mikhailovna said once:
“Class, repeat this word many a time,”
She never did guess, nor glance,
What her girls would recite as a rhyme.
Her lessons by the parts, aloud,
Trying to copy their teacher,
Her stature of holding in the crowd,
All magic pedagogical feature.
Ah, old good the past times!
Where have you gone from us?
As half a century over climbs,
The memories become dearer for class.”