Thursday, August 6, 2009

Students and Teachers

Teachers can take different forms in our lives. Sometimes they are official teachers, like those we have in school, but sometimes they are unofficial teachers, people with whom we can share and learn from. Mentors is a word for such people in our lives.

Outside of the school model, we choose our teachers because we admire them and what they have accomplished. We also choose them because we see something in them that we want which we recognize from the way they are.

We may at times be prompted to learn from our teachers because we are challenged by the lessons they present us. Challenges can cause us to reach beyond what we have done and grow in our abilities and confidence.

Different teachers have different ways to get us there.

A good student also challenges the teacher to find better ways to communicate the lessons and get value from them. Asking questions is the dynamic by which students increase their ability to digest the material, and in asking, they encourage the teacher to dig deeper.

I have learned from many other people, and I have taught many other people. The old saying that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears" is true, and I would expand on it this way. The student who asks for a teacher and then dedicates themselves to learning all they can from that teacher will get the most from the experience.

Whether working with the teacher for a long or short time, what is transmitted includes not just the subject at hand, but more. The exchange between student and teacher can include valuable life lessons, insights, and ways of approaching and understanding a subject. Feelings of love and appreciation often flow from such relationships. Feelings of self confidence and encouragement bring the student to new horizons where the landscape opens to new views, new possibilities.

As we all know by now, we can not judge how great a teacher will be simply on the basis of how many certificates or degrees they have. Often times we will choose a teacher because we feel a connection with them as well as a mastery of the subject matter.

We extract lessons from between the lessons. We sense when our time with that teacher has come to its end. What we learn in the process stays with us for a lifetime. What we gain from the student teacher experience is always evolving, because we are always changing.

We are never done learning. The only question is whether we openly and consciously embrace it. It is not a question of whether we will always have new teachers, it is simply a matter of who, and how actively we are engaged in the process. It is always a good day to begin again.

No comments: