This summer I had the good fortune to be invited as a guest speaker on the podcast TeaLife Audio. Many of you already may know of this podcast hosted by Marius Frøisland, Adam Sōmu Wojciński, and Anthony Crasso. It has been around for a number of years, and is about an hour long informal discussion of different aspects of tea with more than 130 episodes . There are many other guest speakers and interesting topics in the other episodes. You can check it out here: TeaLifeAudio.
The group was very congenial and I always have a good time talking about tea. The guys had many questions about my background. We had a good laugh about how I had a slow start and didn’t make tea for 6 months after I started. There were also many questions about my time at Midorikai.
One of the things I wanted to talk about was something that has concerned me for many years. It happens that I have been the youngest teacher in the Portland area, and really, I am no longer young. I do not see teachers coming up behind me, even as the current Tankokai teachers are aging or no longer teaching. In fact, in Portland we have had three very experienced and long time teachers pass on in the last 5 years.
Not only are there fewer teachers, but we are also losing institutional knowledge in the Tankokai. Fewer people know how to organize and put on Tankokai events, fewer presentations of tea, fewer students are studying upper temae, and fewer students being recruited.
About 3 years ago, I developed a master class for training new teachers from my students. To become a teacher takes commitment and dedication. When I began teaching, I did not have a mentor as my teacher, Minako-sensei had passed away. How I learned to teach the way of tea was trial by fire, and I made many mistakes. The class I developed was based on the mistakes I made and the things I wished that I had someone to mentor me as I began teaching. I have also brought some things from my corporate background on leadership and managing groups.
With the podcast the class was revealed. The class is easily adaptable to online teaching and I have opened it up to people who would like to take this Master Class to help the next generation of teachers of the way of tea. It is a 3 year long commitment to go through the entire class. You can listen to the podcast to get more of a flavor of the class. Those who are interested in the class can contact me about the requirements, class outline, and application. Permission from your current teacher is required to apply. (email: margie at Issoan dot com).
Hopefully we can seed the next generation of teachers, and continue to expand the way of tea worldwide.