Teachers: Ah, That Noble Profession
Article Specs |
Article ID: 2913
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,357
Times Read: 8,619
Author: Moonspider [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: July 18th. 2000
Times Viewed: 8,619
Ah, teachers, those who impart knowledge or skill. That is such a simple concise definition, and its true meaning. So why is it so difficult in the Craft?
Well, you are trying to teach people, throw those folks in and they mess things up. Just joshing. Really though, everyone has baggage of some sort or other, Craft or not. Many people want teachers to fix them. Thats not how it works. The student is supposed to do the work, not the teacher. The teachers job is to instruct.
Ive told students, acquaintances and others, that you may learn more from a bad teacher than a good one. You may need to know what not to do. How better to experience that and have to work through it. Tough lessons are often better remembered. No one just opens up your head and pours the knowledge in.
Also, you are drawn to a certain teacher for a reason. If you have a bad experience, learn from it. After all, isnt that what life is all about, a series of learning experiences.
I will share with you a phrase oft quoted by my professional mentor, Think of the experience youre getting. Grrrr. That was the usual reply, when what I wanted to hear was, Oh, poor baby. Thank you, Grace, you where right. Her advice stands true for many aspects of life, that is why I share them here. I often use it with my own students.
Yes, I teach. Sometimes formally, sometimes not. Both in and out of the Craft. Some days at work I feel like Lucy van Pelt in her Psychiatrists booth. I just need to put my cup out, and sign to please deposit a nickel.
I laugh, it helps keep things in perspective. There are a lot of loose cannons out there. Teachers need to be careful.
Some people feel it is the obligation of the teacher to be enamored with the pupil. While there needs to be rapport, the teacher must always maintain control. Otherwise there is chaos.
Things are different these days. You have a choice. My goodness, just a little over 3 years ago, this magnificent web site was but a dream on paper. There is so much good information out there. It troubles me when I hear people complain about the lack of info. Lack--I suffer from information overload, there is so much out there. Also, for every flavor, too.
Want to be a Rad Faery, got em, want to be a Druid, got em, even, Goddess forbid (but thats another essay), a Christian Witch, got em out there too.
Life seemed so much simpler just a few years ago. When I was a lad going through parochial grammar school, I coveted my tattered Martello and Leek. I knew from early on it was a Witchs life for me. I just needed to bide my time.
We all owe a great debt to Leo and Sybil, they dared to be different and open. They were the Laurie Cabot of that time. She too dared to be different and open. All took great criticisms in their time. I am not here to debate whether the criticism was justified or not. But without those people, the movement would not be where it is today.
Only 2 of those 3 did I ever actually meet or have training from, but I owe much to them. As I said, Leo and Sybil helped keep my light and desire burning through those times when I did not have a voice. Being a minor child at the time. But, they gave me the hope to cling to, that I could act on one day. And, remember, theirs was not this airy, fairy, artsy, fartsy stuff that gets published today. But, that too is another essay.
Sybil, in particular, kept me sane through grammar school. Among my prized possessions are the paperback editions of, The Complete Art of Witchcraft, and Diary of a Witch. Both of which I bought with my own money that I earned as a paperboy. That, of course, made them even more special. I earned them.
I think that is part of our general societal problem: a sense of entitlement. Youve got to earn your way. No one owes you anything. And many people dont appreciate things they havent worked for, or earned.
I remember once, a dear friend called me in a panic. Her daughter had found some of her old witchcraft books, and wanted to blast somebody. Uh-oh. Major no-no.
Now because of the way I came into the Craft, and the way I had to cling to the notion that, yes, indeed, I was a Witch. But, needed to endure the pain of the church while growing up. It was a very momentous decision when I fully embraced the Craft. So I look dimly on people who take it lightly or flippantly.
My friends daughter grew up in a strange household. They lived in a haunted house. Regular dinner conversation could include, hauntings, astrology, almost any occult topic, herbs, animal husbandry, astronomy, etc. This wasnt typical for me.
So off I traveled to Vermont, to help put out this fire. I was angry. Angry that someone could be so reckless with something I held so dear. I knew I had to quell my own anger before I got there. So from the moment I got into my car, until I arrived at their doorstep some 200 miles later, I was working a spell. Even when I arrived, my friend knew not to disturb me, but to let me be.
I put the kettle on, placed my bags in my room, prepared the tea Id just chosen at the Grand Union. And, just when it had brewed the daughter drove into the driveway after work.
The spell worked. We shared tea, talked calmly about the situation. And without me having to swat her upside her head, which she would have deserved. She came to the realization that indeed striking out at this person wasnt the best thing to do. Thank the gods!
Now, youre probably wondering, whats this got to do with teaching? Quite a bit. I had to draw on all Id learned, to teach myself how to help someone out of a potentially dangerous situation. Also, to pull out of the daughter what she already knew was right. It would have made no difference if Id have gone in like a bull in a china shop, and started off brow beating her. I taught myself to trust myself in how to deal with the situation. Listen to yourself sometime, youd be surprised at what you know.
Cabot came along when I was an adult. Her first book spoke to me. That was how I practiced, with my mind. I had mind control training and used it magically for years. The balance of things, the science of the Craft, if you will. For many years, it was my annual treat to re-read Power of the Witch. It remains one of my most treasured books, and is required reading of my students.
I will only put this disclaimer out there. I will not speak to the personalities of these folks. For we are all characters and have our own warts and lessons to learn.
In case you havent guessed it. My best and first teachers were books. They remain so to this day. I have always been a book person, and loved them so, that it is how Ive made my living my entire adult life. My learning came mostly from a-has and realizations that other people were articulating what I already felt. I have major water signs in my chart, so you bet your bottom dollar I feel.
Another item to be aware of. You never know from what source your information will come from. It may come from the most unlikely place, so be aware, when you ask for things. A great deal of my knowledge has come from non-Craft sources. I have always acquired things unusually, that is just how Im wired, and I understand that.
Teachers will help you do that to, understand yourself. Sometimes the hardest teacher you must deal with is the one that is in your own mirror. To be true to yourself is the hardest thing. To be honest with yourself is even harder. Can you stare yourself in the eye without flinching? Try it sometime.
Teachers are people. They are not gods/goddesses, grand poobahs, etc. Though most of that comes from eager students. They want perfection, sorry, it doesnt exist on this plane. To make an analogy with modern society, it goes with the notion of hero worship. What is more heartbreaking to a child, when he discovers that his baseball hero is a drug abuser. The player is human, and has faults, foibles and lessons like everyone else. When they get placed on pedestals, pedestals can wobble. Look at our President.
I like people who take themselves off them. One dear friend, Jan Farrar, hates pedestals. Doesnt want to be on one, isnt crazy about folks who are on them. Jan is very learned, and has many years experience in our Craft. Yet, she treats everyone equally. Some who complain about her simply dont know her. Is she a saint, oh, hardly. And she makes no pretensions about it either. She willingly shares her knowledge with others, and can be generous to a fault.
Jan is an amazing writer and storyteller. Those are part of her arts. Ive seen her counsel people. Many mental health professionals could learn a great deal by watching her deal with people.
Like most teachers, I never went after it. It found me. I barely poked my head out of the broom closet. And people wanted instruction. I was naturally hesitant. I barely thought I knew what was going on. It is not something I take lightly or casually. There is a certain amount of responsibility on both parts that goes on in the effort.
I must share with you the rewards of teaching. One of my first students is a very dear friend. She has since helped many along this path now herself. One student of hers was about to return home to a foreign country. My friend wanted to celebrate the next Sabbat together before her student went away. At the end of ritual, she dedicated her student. The surprise for me, was it was the same dedication Id done to her several years prior.
It was practically word for word. Astonishing since those words simply streamed out of my head at the time, and had never been written down. She later shared with me, how much those words meant to her, and wanted to pass them on. This is one of the rewards of teaching.
Teachers teach, they dont tell answers. They simply guide the student to it, through self-discovery. After all, the teacher already knows the answer, it is the students job to discover it.
Mark MoonSpider Sosnowski
Location: Bridgeport, Connecticut
Author's Profile: To learn more about Moonspider - Click HERE
Bio: Mark MoonSpider Sosnowski has been on this path most of his life. Life has dealt him many twists and turns, and usually says he came into the Craft through the back door. He loves books and reading and makes his living as a librarian. Numerology is his main form of divination having worked it for over 15 years. but, his Gemini mind, never at rest, has studied astrology, crystals, runes, I ching and whatever else strikes his fancy.
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