I grew up in a family of teachers, even my great-grandfather was a teacher. I learned early on that teaching has a lot to do with curiosity and creativity, knowledge and a drive for life long learning, organization and structure, intuition and a genuine love for the human being.

My great-grand father was a teacher in a very small village teaching kids ages 7 to 15 in one class room. That must have taken a lot of social skills. He was an authority figure in the village and often was asked for advice in other matters. His daughter, my grandmother, had an education as a sewing teacher. Her handicraft was wonderful, and she had a great sense for practicality and how to survive in daily life. She was a strong woman.

My father, her son, was also teacher, helping students to find their profession. He taught kids in their last mandatory school year, and helped them to find their strength and try a few internship possibilities during the year. He was very creative and innovative in finding new ways to teach in challenging situations. He was also a talented poet and writer. He had courage and stood up for what he understood was right for his students – he loved and respected them a lot. Often they came back to visit years later.

My mother was a cooking teacher in her early years and later a supervisor for cooking teachers. She stepped out after we, her kids, were older, and she paved the way for us to be independent women. Her organizational talent and energy were incredible. She had a great way to deal with having almost no money and still cook the best meals or dress her three daughters beautifully. She was clearly a very positive thinker with strong intuition, and she was also politically active, like my father.

When my older sister and I wanted to become professional musicians, my father strongly encouraged us to first develop a steady profession to create a stable income. We went to the teacher training college and got our education degrees. There, I took classes in psychology, pedagogy, choir conducting, and craftsmanship. Every week  for two years, I also went to a school, supervised by a teacher, to observe or teach other students. I learned to teach from scratch. My sister and I graduated when we both were 20 years old.

Photo by Nikolaus Walter, Feldkirch, Austria


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