Thursday, January 12, 2012

Appreciation for my teachers



I love delicious serendipities. For instance yesterday, one of the group of people I usually refer to as "my very great teachers" just happened to tune in here. She read the last post about storytelling. It's just perfect because she is the great teacher who introduced me to the idea of sacred drama in the first place, many years ago. She doesn't always come to see what I've written as she is a university professor, mom, married person and keeper of Very Energetic Dogs, so she really hasn't a lot of spare time. Still, something inspired her to come have a look. That makes me smile.

Great teachers are rare; I'm talking about the people who know what they're talking about, have a certain flair for dramatic presentation and some kind of odd, nerdish charisma that creates an atmosphere in which students actually want to pay attention. Really great teachers become excited when they see lightbulbs above their students' heads. They are able to magnify their excitement until it fills the room.

Today I'm wondering about the people who eschew good teachers, who want to learn everything themselves (for reasons I can't comprehend - is it necessary to reinvent the wheel?). Likewise I'm wondering about those whose arrogance prevents them from admitting how wonderful it is to be a student. What is up with that? I don't get it, but I wouldn't, would I?

I am in awe of my great teachers, all of them. That includes Jake, who was a formidable teacher in so many ways, the human teachers from whom I've learned so much, also my spirit guides who never steer me in the wrong direction (though sometimes I don't listen to them) and the weather, which always explains everything. For instance, today it's sunny and sparkling after a heavy rain last night. The high today will be close to 60. You'd better believe I'll be out there, walking around, taking pictures - and no doubt learning something or another. Oh yeah.

In the meantime, here is one of my favorite poems. I post it regularly here because it is absolutely true. Have a wonderful Thursday. Shalom.

GRATITUDE TO OLD TEACHERS

When we stride or stroll across the frozen lake,
We place our feet where they have never been.
We walk upon the unwalked. But we are uneasy.
Who is down there but our old teachers?

Water that once could take no human weight-
We were students then - holds up our feet,
And goes on ahead of us for a mile.
Beneath us the teachers, and around us the stillness.

--Robert Bly




17 comments:

The Bug said...

I love that poem. I think that Mike is a teacher like you describe, athought I know he gets discouraged. I'll point him to your blog today :)

Reya Mellicker said...

I bet Michael kicks serious ass in the classroom. I would love to sit in on any one of his lectures.

Reya Mellicker said...

As if in shamanic alignment with my thoughts this morning, this appeared in the New York Times this morning. Here, here!

Rebecca Clayton said...

People who don't want to learn are, I think, afraid of change, and who isn't afraid of change, sometimes?

I've spend a lot of time reassuring students that they're not stupid, that they are capable of math and chemistry, that they will be able to function successfully in Math- and Chemistry-Land.

Mostly, they overcome their fears and go for it. I hope the ones who run from the work will feel more confident one day and try again. I think they will, although maybe not in math and chemistry.

Reya Mellicker said...

Rebecca there are people afraid to learn, but also people who disdain the roles of teacher/student. They see that situation as somehow demeaning. They want to learn but want to do it all themselves, without a teacher. That is something I do not get!

Your students are lucky to have you on their side. I bet you're a great teacher.

Cyndy said...

I love that poem - it is so true. The opportunity to learn and/or be taught is one of life's many gifts.

Kerry said...

So much to learn! One of the biggest things I look forward to after I retire from teaching is more time to be a student.

Jo said...

I give this post a standing ovation, Reya. Of course, I paid a silent tribute to Benny Lou Searcy as I read it, a woman who had all the attributes you describe; a flair for the dramatic, odd, nerdish charisma, and that same excitement that comes with knowing you've mada a difference!

Bravo to all the teachers out there...even Jake! ♥

Reya Mellicker said...

Miss Searcy stands out Mong my great teachers. Richard Lippmann, too. Mark rolls and I were in his class. Wow.

Pandora, Rose, Hilary and Cybele were my great benefactors in Reclaiming. Kila Choudbury brought me into the blood of her Mongolian shamanistic family. She remains a great epteacher to this day. In bodywork there was the amazing Judy Topaz, also Mike and Michael from whom I learned about mayo fascias release.

Rabbi Toby Manewith stepped in to teach me when I needed her help desperately.

I could go on and on. I'm so lucky!,

Reya Mellicker said...

It would not be right for me not to say that Jack Kornfield taught the first meditation class I ever took, i learned shamanic journeying from Michael Harner, and Vicki Noble introduced me to shamanic healing,

But now I'm dropping names!

Reya Mellicker said...

Typo apology!

steven said...

the best year of my education - i skipped for two months and taught myself. but ... from that came the knowledge and the beginnings of the thougthful steven that shows up now in my teaching. i very like . . . and am very glad that your teacher knew to show up on the right day in the right place and for the right reason!!! ha. that draws the line of connection that much thicker doesn't it reya!! steven

Val said...

i just love how your photos always show the strength of natural energy and light in an urban setting. they are timeless. That last one is just so powerful. and i love the poem too, and the teachers - even those who teach the tough lessons. Thanks Reya!

Reya Mellicker said...

Val - DC is a swamp, hence drenched in life force energy. The landscape itself, fecund as it is, plus the laws that prevent anyone from building anything higher than the Capitol, make for a super verdant city.

You would have so much fun here! You must come for a visit sometime!

Val said...

i would LOVE to. Id be fascinated by all that is on your doorstep. thanks

Steve Reed said...

I like this post, Reya -- it makes me think about all the ways my friends have been teachers for me (including you!) and the ways in which I resist being taught. I have always struggled with admitting when I don't know something, which is very strange -- it's instinctive, a defensiveness about not knowing. Why is that??

I was also reminded of this graffiti I found years ago:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sreed99342/497715119/

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks Steve. You too are a great teacher. I can't read the graffiti, though I can make out the word teacher.

You've got such a great memory of your images! Wow.