Within students a teacher may find a Guru. Teachers should always looks upon students as sources of knowledge. A teacher standing above the student limits the relationship. The student and teacher grows together. The below points are a backbone to student teacher relationships. The below points posses an unseen pendulum. A teacher chooses the degree of the pendulum swing when applying the points. Following boundaries set by the teacher is imperative.
Detachment is a major feature of a teacher’s role. From here a fresh perspective can be offered. Application of this role varies from culture to culture in relation to power and distance.
A teacher may advise the student only to offer suggestions. Students make the final decision and live with the consequences. A teacher has no direct authority to decide on or make changes in a student’s life.
A Non-Economic Relationship
Profit is not the primary motive for teachers. The relationship is considered non-economic. Money is nothing more then a byproduct of the relationship. Teachers practicing traditional methods of payment have their students pay what they have up to a certain amount.
Surrender is the cornerstone of the relationship. From here the teacher sets the tone and the student follows. The teacher asks the questions and the student answers. Surrender allows the teacher to see what’s within the student. Without surrender there is a limited relationship.
Information disclosed by the student is classified. With confidentiality surrender is made possible.
Is the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings or difficulties. Teachers can often identify (classify, analyze, describe) from within the student’s emotions. The emotions or physical pains, of the student, may transfer into the teacher.
The Great Irony
Many teachers have undergone a multitude of life experience. They tend to have sorted through life experiences and the emotions associated with them only to understand the route causes of those emotions. From the route causes is where wisdom is derived. It has been said, “one must fall in order to come together”. Teachers are usually facilitating the “coming together” of a student. Pain on various levels when healed leads to hidden treasures within.
True teachers have worn many shoes. By this they are able to understand which shoe fits for them and their students. Their experiences allow them to empathize with a student’s situation, which enables them to influence a student’s direction.
A teacher delivers information according to the readiness or competence of a student to learn. In addition to the latter the student must be worthy of the knowledge, experience, energy, earned and developed by the teacher.
It can be damaging on both sides if a teacher parcels out information prematurely. What a teacher puts in must come back from the student. At the least a student must have a deep respect for the teacher. A student without deep respect for the teacher will reciprocate polluted energy. During the relationship an experienced teacher may read into your essence and know your thoughts. This is why many established teachers choose their pupils and not the other way around.
You have to be accepted by the teacher. Most westerners believe that the relationship begins on the first lesson. You are not a student until you come repetitiously over an undefined period of time. The teacher, through intuition and accomplished goals, determines acceptance. One of my teachers said to me after two months and twenty to thirty lessons, “You have been accepted”. This was followed by a bow. Acceptance is not always verbalized.
If a student can not be developed then the teacher must leave since there is nothing to offer. The teacher is only a guide that provides tools. The practice and the path to enlightenment is consummated by the student.
Depending on the reason dismissal does happened and usually for a defined period of time. This may occur after the first lesson or after one or more years. A student upon his or her return might be subject to “Tests”. Tests might be extremely simple to follow. Your unwillingness/difficulty in complying only results in further dismissal. The test is meant to surrender the ego.
A teacher is not influenced by status and titles. A socioeconomic status, gender, age, sexual orientation, beauty and educational level are left at the door. Hereditary lineage and the 9-5 career is not regarded. Removing the ego from the relationship is imperative. The breakdown of the ego is a step to enlightenment.
A student never demands from the teacher. There is a fine line between demanding and asking. Both are usually dead ends. A teacher delivers according to the readiness of both sides. A teacher provides what the student is capable of receiving. A teacher imparts certain knowledge believing the student is worthy of their hard earned knowledge and experience.
A teacher is not supposed to seek from students. That is the general rule but it is not applied rigidly. There are gray areas.
Try not to speak ill of another teacher. If you do not like a class. Keep the comments to yourself. Refrain from boasting about a teacher against that of another. Some are close to their teacher. It is similar to comparing siblings.
Students are measured in their ability to absorb the lessons while reciprocating deference. Ability is not enough. Senior students are the ones with the most experience. Void of physical ability, especially when experience is greater such as with senior students, deference is paramount.
Teachers are extensions of their masters. Average teachers are mimicking a master. Great teachers have discovered the master within from which they project. Teachers are not measured by what they know. They are measured by what they instill. True teachers are enable students to become self-sufficient, strong and independent people. Quality teachers remove attachment from the relationship. The ultimate goal is to make students into masters. By doing the latter the student is free.
The quality of the teacher is defined through the student’s practice. As the student grows so does the teacher. Thus the student’s progression is the teacher’s top concern.
A student should expose themselves to other styles. Once in a while try another teacher. Keep an open mind and be surrendered to the new teacher.
Internal & External Teaching Styles
External teaching styles are the most traditional and effective. The teacher is a mystery. Nobody knows anything about the teacher. In private the teacher speaks little to nothing of personal matters. This can be a highly authoritative form of teaching demanding formality. Instructions are more authoritarian with minimal fraternizing. This comparable to a stern yet distant father who expresses love through discipline. The teacher chooses to stand completely on the outside of the students’ life.
Internal teaching styles are comparable to friendships. Ritual may not be strictly practiced. Here the teacher will share more of a life lived. Teachers practicing internal forms of teaching demand a high degree of self-sufficiency. The teacher can not have any void that needs to be fulfilled by the student. It is up to the teacher to set the limits and stay within them. It is up to the student to recognize and follow limits set by the teacher.
External teaching styles don’t have a long shelf life. They are referred to as yang in Chinese or male oriented styles. Such styles are hard and stiff. A classic external teacher is a military drill sergeant. Internal forms of teaching styles have a longer life. They are in Chinese referred to as yin or feminine oriented styles. Such styles are soft and gentle. External forms of teaching almost inevitably lead to internal. It is destructive/limited for both sides if the relationship stays overly external for a long period of time. For the purpose of longevity the teaching style must go internal.
When man is born he is soft and gentle. When man dies he is hard and stiff. Thus flows life for the soft and gentle. “It” is “The Way” The teacher must use wisdom to know where to stand on the Internal and External Teaching pendulum.
Not every crony becomes a best friend. Similarly not all student teacher relations develop into deep spiritual connections. Group relations are known to create strong connections without words exchanged. One example of the depths of the relationship is when the teacher dreams or feels the spirit of a student and vice versa. Each relationship is unique. You are all individuals and therefore the relationships are unique on various levels. There is no pattern / predictability. Some students have dreamt a teacher’s arrival months in advance. It is said that when the student is ready the teacher comes. Not always is the teacher fitting a stereo typical mold.
I was with my first teacher for over three years, five to six days a week, for three to five hours a day. Thirty years since my last lesson I see him in dreams from time to time. A connection that one can never seek. My first teacher and I did not have one personal conversation. A relationship that instilled what money cannot buy. When I teach he can be seen through me.