Senior Lifestyles

Rhyme on My Hands: Lifelong learning – from afar

The impact of COVID-19 on teaching extends well beyond families with school-age offspring. Seniors pursuing lifelong learning are also deserting classrooms typically used for evening courses.

At a recent Zoom talk before Branch 35 of Sons In Retirement, Amy Tollafield of Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program described the school’s online approach to overcoming the pandemic’s obstacles.

Branch 35 speaker introductions always include a parody song related to the topic. What better starting point for a parody on distant learning than Frank Sinatra’s “Teach Me Tonight”?

Did you say I’ve got a lot to learn
Well don’t think I’m trying not to learn
Since this is the perfect spot to learn
Teach me tonight

Starting with the ABC of it
Right down to the XYZ of it
Help me solve the mystery of it
Teach me tonight

The sky’s a blackboard high above you
And if a shooting star goes by
I’ll use that star to write “I love you”
A thousand times across the sky

One thing isn’t very clear my love
Teachers shouldn’t stand so near my love
Graduation’s almost here my love
Teach me tonight

For readers whose family members are impacted by efforts to keep schooling – if not schools – operating under current circumstances, perhaps my parody’s reminder that neighboring Stanford is keeping us all company in this endeavor will lend a lift.

Teach Us Tonight

We know Stanford has a lot to teach
Impart learning online we beseech
With so many students within reach
Teach us tonight

With a flock of courses virtual
Plain-Jane faculty now face a lull
Photogenic teachers, never dull
Teach us tonight

My screen’s a whiteboard now for learning
My class is held when I’m alert
My topic’s one that I’ve been yearning
My class attire is my nightshirt

Remote tutors for assistancing
Maskless “Bug 19” resistancing
The extreme in Social Distancing
Teach us tonight

For more information on Sons In Retirement Branch 35, call (408) 313-6852 or visit

Bob Simon is a Los Altos resident. Email him at [email protected]

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