Moon Phase


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Teachers, GOOD & BAD (Part 2 Good Teacher)

A GOOD TEACHER... generally:

- Has a sense of humor... Humans do silly things sometimes, and a sense of humor can help keep things in perspective. A good teacher will help you laugh at yourself (and them!) but will not hold you up to ridicule.

- Has respect for all living things... One needn't be a vegetarian to care about the lives and welfare of animals. Environmental concerns are also important as Neo-Paganism is a "nature or earth-based" religious Path. Abuse of any living thing is pretty much a "no-no".

- Has a healthy self image... A teacher who realizes that he or she can learn just as much from a novice as the novice may learn from the teacher is probably comfortable in what they know, yet open to new ideas and concepts.

- Is kind and compassionate... This doesn't mean that you will not be challenged or have to work hard, but it does mean that your honest efforts will be met with encouragement and gentle guidance. A good teacher will not "look down his or her nose" at your sincere attempts; they realize that experience is necessary to gaining knowledge.

- Tells the truth and is direct... This means that you will not be led astray either by one who is afraid to confront you when you are heading in a wrong direction or by one who seeks to manipulate you for unspoken ends. They call a spade a spade and want you to do the same. They 'walk their talk" and do not have a separate code of conduct for themselves while expecting you to follow another.

- Is able to teach by example... The good teacher will often tell stories of the time that they really 'screwed up". They also can tell you about their successes and failures and do so-neither making excuses nor being overly melodramatic about their experiences. They can offer practical examples and show applications of such examples clearly. They are not "mysterious" so much as they demonstrate the "mysteries" in simple ways to help you understand them.

- Has a global point of view... Local "gurus' may only be interested in making a name or creating a following for themselves. A good teacher will encourage their students to reach beyond the local area and embrace the rest of the world community.

- Is inclusive rather than exclusive in attitude... Anyone who promotes an "us vs. them" is dangerously close to becoming a cult leader. There are real forces out there to contend with, but a teacher who finds an enemy around every corner should be avoided.

- Allows for mistakes and admits that he/she is not perfect... "We are all in this together" is a good statement to hear from a teacher that you are considering working with.

- Is flexible, yet honors commitments... Too rigid a set of rules and regulations stifles energy flow and the learning experience. Too random a training program may also interfere in the discipline required for growth. A balance between the two is best.

- Encourages you to do your own research and ask questions... A good teacher wants you to discover and explore new ideas. A good book list should be included in any training program. You should be able to disagree with a teacher without being censored or reprimanded. (A well thought out concept should be "thought provoking" however and not just "provoking".).

- Gives credit where credit is due... A teacher who is using references or techniques from other sources should plainly state this fact. The use other people's work without credit is theft, plain and simple.

- Listens more than talks... A good teacher is genuinely interested in your thoughts, feelings and opinions. Feedback is one way that a teacher can tell how you are absorbing and integrating the materials and lessons. Someone who talks all the time about his/her experiences is more interested in impressing you with their personal knowledge than helping you to acquire knowledge of your own.

- Wants you to mature and move on... A good teacher wants his or her students to surpass them. That is the greatest compliment that a teacher can receive. Just as a good parent wants to send mature and well balanced children out into the world, so does a good spiritual teacher want their "children" to grow up and leave home.

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