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Toowoomba U3A's Peter Sheridan shares his language skills

Peter Sheridan.
Peter Sheridan.

ON THE face of it, tennis, sudoku and the German language may appear to have little in common, but in Peter Sheridan's world, these are but three strings in his quite impressive volunteering bow.

Born in Toowoomba in 1930, Peter worked in various capacities during his professional life, ranging from a role with the Main Roads Department, a spell as shire engineer in Mitchell and Oakey, and eventually as the owner of a pet goods wholesaling business.

Upon retirement in 1995, and wishing to "make myself useful in the community", Peter joined U3A as a student of German language.

His mother's side of the family emigrated from Germany in 1863, so there was a little family history involved in his choice of subject.

Peter enjoyed the classes immensely and rapidly built up his skill in the language thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of his tutor.

Aware that others were keen to set off on their own language learning paths, but were perhaps a little nervous, Peter decided to step up and help out as a first-time German tutor.

"I continued learning German in an intermediate class, but became aware that there was no class for anyone who wished to commence learning German without prior knowledge.

"I had a good knowledge of the basics, so I started tutoring elementary German, even though I had no experience as a teacher.

"My aim was to send these members to the higher class when they became sufficiently proficient".

That is exactly what happened, with a core group of students moving on to a deeper study of the language.

Around the same time, an acquaintance pointed out to Peter that there were a number of older people in the community who had been keen tennis players in their youth and would be enthusiastic about getting back into the sport but lacked a club through which to do so.

Having had previous experience with the sport and not being one to shy away from taking the initiative, Peter established a U3A tennis group, co-ordinated it for three years and is happy to say that it "continues to the present day".

As if that was not enough, Peter then went on to teach sudoku for a year in 2014, proving yet again that variety is indeed the spice of life.

When asked why he took on such diverse tutoring roles, Peter replied: "Just so I can help others … there is nothing more satisfying".

"For me, it goes without saying that we have an obligation to share our knowledge and skills with others".

U3A Toowoomba recently held a Volunteers Christmas luncheon at Regents on the Lake.

The purpose behind the luncheon was to say thank you to the small army of volunteer tutors who give of their time and efforts throughout the year to provide a wide variety of classes and activities to members.

Well done and thank you. There will be an open morning on Monday, January 25. The aim of the morning is to allow prospective members to check out the classes and activities that will be on offer in 2016.

The event will take place at the Philharmonic Performance Complex, 7 Matthews St, Harristown, with doors open to the public from 9.30-11.30am.

Additionally, the U3A office will be open on January 13 to 15, 18 to 22.


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