Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thursdays With Jodee - 2

Thanks to everyone who participated in last week's dialogue. It turns out we have quite a few teachers out there - although we may not be teaching in the traditional sense.

This was brought to mind again in a different setting at my study group for A Course in Miracles earlier this week. Here is a portion of the text we were reading:

"A good teacher clarifies his own ideas and strengthens them by teaching them. Teacher and pupil are alike in the learning process. They are in the same order of learning, and unless they share their lessons, conviction will be lacking. A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches, but he must meet another condition; he must believe in the students to whom he offers the ideas.

"Many stand guard over their ideas because they want to protect their thought systems as they are, and learning means change. Change is always fearful to the separated, because they cannot conceive of it as a move towards healing the separation. They always perceive it as a move toward further separation, because the separation was their first experience of change."
I find it interesting that this lesson really supports those of us who either wanted to be teachers but aren't - or didn't want to be teachers but find ourselves in that realm at some level. Some of the people who responded to last week's question learned that if we're not doing what we wanted to do as children, there might be a hidden message for us. For those who can remember what they wanted to be, that probably is in there somewhere, dying to get out. For those of us who can't remember, maybe we can just think about what we are being in our lives and celebrate those times of ecstatic engagement, knowing it is honoring the child within us.

This week's question relates to our hidden desire to be teachers.

Who was your favorite teacher? What made him or her special?

I had two that I can think of: Mrs. B. and Dr. Hoppe. Both were English teachers - one in high school and one in college. Mrs. B. first introduced me to Richard Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull) and also to Kahlil Gibran, two authors who have many more similarities - to each other and to me - than I ever could have imagined at the time. Dr. Hoppe introduced me to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who became one of my all-time favorite philosophers. It's funny that I've always thought of those particular characters whenever I think of those two teachers, but it's not been until just this minute that I realize how uncanny it is that I would feel as strongly connected as I always have to those three people (Gibran, Bach & Emerson).

In connecting that right now, I see that both Dr. Hoppe & Mrs. B. must have recognized my need for support in my nonconformity because that is the link between what I remember most about each of them.

What shows up for you in the question about your favorite teacher or mentor?

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At 1:16 PM, Blogger Tracy Lee said...

Ahh, great topic!

I like you, recognize that the teachers that stand out in my own history are those that recognized my uniqueness and strove to bring those qualities out in me and allowed me to be an individual in a world full of sheep in flocks. They knew I would never be happy marching to someone else's drum and showed me ways to dance to my own music.

In the various "teaching" opportunites I have had in my life thus far, I always try to remember to find and exemplify those characteristics that make each individual shine and let them know that it is alright to be their own person.

By contrast,t he worst teacher I had was one that tried to mold me into the "norm". I met her again as an adult and realized why I never liked her. It was a great feeling of liberation to understand that my feelings were justified.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Jodee said...

Tracy: Thanks so much for visiting and adding to the dialogue! I'm with you - I'm all about supporting uniqueness. I learn more all the time that I teach best what I most need to learn - and that I think I add a new perspective when I teach because of what I've learned, and continue to learn. Good stuff!

At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Deb said...

Mrs. Woodbury! She was my 7th grade Tennessee history teacher. (We lived in Tennessee at the time.) I didn't even know I liked history until I took her class. She loved all things Andrew Jackson, and it showed.

I can still remember her description of a battle, and even as a short, stocky, salt and pepper haired woman in a dress, she climbed on top of her desk and brandished her imaginary sword while telling the tale!

And that's the thing. She was a story-teller. She was a story-teller who connected with us. I try to remember that when I'm leading training sessions now.

Then, there was my 8th grade AP English teacher who introduced me to Shakespeare, sparking in me a love that would last a lifetime. And my freshman English Literature professor in college. She opened my eyes to many authors, but she also had a grace and ease about her. She had a style that was all her own. From her, I learned much more than just the subject we were studying. Most importantly, she taught me to keep searching for new authors, keep reading different types of literature, to keep exploring.

Oddly enough, my passion growing up was music, but I never wanted to be a music teacher. And my 'top three' teachers that I just listed do not include them.

All three of these teachers knew their topic well, told stories as a way of connecting, made the topic relevant, and brought a passion to the topic that spurred me on to continue learning in those areas for the rest of my life.

all the best!

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