If you think about it ... we play the role of teacher and student each day of our lives.
Hopefully - we are generous with our strengths and gifts (what ever they may be).
Hopefully - we are humble enough to learn from those who show up as our teachers (traditionally sought or synchronously found).
I'm reading a lovely book right now - The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho.
It's the kind of book I know I'll want to read again with pen/highlighter in hand ... all the little gems I'm enjoying!
It's the kind of book that teaches ... and ... a book that makes being a student oh-so-welcome!
(it's the kind of book that I "eat up": the human spirit, human unrest, people 'finding their way' through life, juicy spiritual tid-bits. Ahhhhhhh, loving it.)
And in this book, there is a brilliant-to-me passage about teachers.
"What is a teacher? I'll tell you: it isn't someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give of her best in order to discover what she already knows."
I dog-eared this page.
It felt like a confirmation of thoughts I've long-since held, and had been re-honoring recently.
You see, I just signed up for a workshop (second one from same teacher) whereby I had previously placed perhaps too much responsibility on the teacher. I was holding her up. She most certainly has her gifts to share! And I look forward to being her student. I, however, needn't look at it any different than that, needn't hold her on a pedestal. Quite simply put, it's not comfortable or ideal for teacher or student. Entering into this soon-to-be learning experience (workshop #2) feels entirely different and bound-to-be more effective as a result.
This idea of expert, master, guru, etc.
It can be a slippery slope.
The quote from the book lends itself to spiritual-type teaching/training, for we would all agree that if one was learning/studying to become a brain surgeon, he/she should take expert advise and council (please, oh please)! wink.
And, we would all agree that there are many people more learned than us in any number of subject matter.
Still, a tendency for the learner to discount his or her innate knowledge and even go so far as to relinquish healthy responsibility for the learning process itself is something about which we should be aware.
Be mindful not to turn your teachers into all-knowing gurus.
Own it. Ask. Research. Find out for yourself. Live it.
Even teach, and learn through that experience.
If teaching, careful not to hinder the process by taking undue ownership/credit for your students learning.
Seems to me this approach allows for more optimal knowledge attainment/transfer, all the while freeing the responsibility-bonds placed on the teacher.
(It goes without saying that the opposite is surely a presumptuous and disrespectful thing to do as well ... placing people "below" us for any reason.)
In the end, coming at both teaching and learning with a healthy dose of humbleness and excitement seems a more effective and fun approach!
Thoughts on the matter, anyone?
For me ... I vow to learn, and teach a bit, each day in 2011!