Thursday, August 28, 2014

Insistent Little Bugger

Every few months I get bitten by a bug. It is one that for several reasons I have continued to put off for a few years. You see there is a part of me that craves teaching others—craves it like the Sun chases the Moon.

To me it is not about sitting high and mighty or any other egotistical approach. Nor is my desire about me being a teacher of the Craft, though I have trained and initiated before. There is too much responsibility and duty, and risk if these are not taken seriously or properly, for students to be taken merely for the sake of indulging the ego. I cannot accept any such approach for myself, which is fine since my own impetus doesn’t come from there.

It is easy to fall into the ego trap though, after all students tend to put their teacher on a pedestal. On one hand, this can be used by the teacher for their own ego work. There are, however, easier and better methods of doing such that do not rely on students putting them on a pedestal. It can be damaging to the teacher to want to be on that pedestal, needing students that put them there. There is a fallacy here. At some point, the teacher will fall off that pedestal, and there is no climbing back up. Every teacher on a pedestal will fall. If the teacher liked being there because of ego and tries to return to that position, they will lose their student, doing them and the Craft a disservice.

Nonetheless, teachers will be placed on pedestals, even when they don’t want to be. They too will fall… which is a good thing. As one of my own various teachers likes to point out, the teacher doesn’t really begin to teach the student until they fall off the pedestal and the two become equals. My simple advice to students out there, if your teacher suddenly falls short of your expectations and doesn’t attempt to twist the truth so as to appear perfect, but instead admits their own flaws as a human, it is not the time to quit. There are always other factors to be concerned with, so take this advice only as part of it. For instance, if there is abuse or exploitation then quitting needs to happen immediately! That is assuming the relationship could not be avoided at all. My advice given doesn’t apply there. If you as a student are training with a creditable teacher and they fall before your eyes, take it not as a sign of their failings as a teacher but as a sign that the relationship has evolved into a space of vast potential.

Long side tangent over, my own desire to teach is about witnessing. Through passing the Craft on, I get to stand in wonder as another’s Craft blossoms before my eyes. It is the spark of understanding suddenly shinning in the eye that I crave. That is all the teacher does anyway; “Here is the praxis. Here is how you Craft. Go, the rest is on you.”

I have over the course of the past couple of years turned people away seeking with me. They are all lovely people—truly. The main reason I have done so is due to my own frequent moving. I feel it would be a disservice to take a student on only to move away and I am not sure I am up to teaching at a distance, though technology in that arena has developed a long way from the ole snail-mail correspondence course. Additionally, I was undergoing an immersion into a new praxis and Tradition. As a result, it is certainly not the time to teach. There are other reasons as well, but a blog is not the place to discuss such. Let’s just say they tie deeply into my own Craft.

So why even bring all of this up? Quite frankly, writing blogs helps me to explore corners of my thoughts, most of which gets omitted. Such is the case with this post as well. The oath-bound or praxis specific stuff goes into my private and closed blog. Everything else either gets written here, not written at all, or deleted after being written. So there you have it, all this is just about me digging into parts of my Craft. I don't think any of this will make the bug go away though.  

Boidh Se!

-Spanish Moss

“Lost in a thicket bare-foot upon a thorned path.”


GreenFlame said...

Ah, yes. Talking about the brownie helps resist eating the brownie!

That whole pedestal thing was awful for me in so many ways. Maybe someday I'll get over it and be able to teach again. Interestingly, the Powers-That-Be are giving me a firm "No way and don't even think it" right now, which is a relief.

Annwyn Avalon said...

This is an awesome post. I am a teacher, it is just my calling. I never understood why my dance students come back to class over and over, even when I trip, forget pieces of the Choreography I wrote. I think that people, that truly want to learn understand that a teacher is a human and learning on this path as well. I struggle with those that put me on some pedestal. Im constantly trying to do better, and not let them down. This is good for me, as a teacher. It keeps me learning, and digging into more dance and craft practice. That can be good for the teacher, but bad for the student. Eventually I make a mistake, or forget something important. It goes back to being a baby and learning how to walk. Until you feel the pain of falling, and realize it doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger. I respect your reasons for not taking students, and understand it. However for some of us, we just don't have a choice. It is our calling, in one way or another. Im pretty lucky to have a good friend that ego checks me on a regular basis. This blog still remains a great reminder that with everything there is a circle of life. A death, rebirth, and growth cycle. I have experienced it with dance, the ego death, and the failings. However with time, healing, and new drive it has evolved and Im happy with how it has changed. I never would have made it here without the fall in the first place! Glad to see you blogging again...

Annwyn Avalon said...

Another thought I have been having recently that goes with this post. Is the responsibility of the student and teacher. Students should realize that their teachers can only give so much, are only human etc. I think students can be very needy, needing the constant pat on the back, and the applause for doing well. They deserve it, however they also can be damaging to a teacher when they are too clingy or need too much. Ive learned that on both sides the hard way. The other thing and perhaps this is where the ego check comes in. Sometimes students are just not suited to work with you, or you reach a place where you have nothing else to offer them. The hardest is when a student surpasses you. I've had this happen several times. It is really hard, "they are better than me" or something along those lines. It really hurt me, in dance, and was a HUGE part of my ego death to see the HUGE success of my students. They have gone places I never could have taken them. However about the time dance "came back" I decided to be proud of them. To be proud that they took what I gave them and turned it into some of the most amazing dance talent in Japan and the South West. They have much further to go, and I cant take them there. However I decided that just because I cant teach them anymore, I would sit on the sidelines cheering them on. They can go 100x further with my love and support than without it. What good would I be as teacher if I said. " You have gone too far, gotten too good! now stop, slow down, go at my pace. No that is not my job! Sucky lesson to learn, but now I am free,(from my own fears, short comings etc) and they are amazing dancers! That is what it is all about right? So timely on this post, as I have been examining my role as teacher, and where I will go, and where my students will go. Very timely indeed, Thank you.