Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Find the "Perfect" Witchcraft Teacher

Everyone wants to find a “perfect” teacher. They can even visualize the ideal individual… This teacher of course has rock bottom prices for their classes, will be on call 24/7, answer every possible question the student may have, tell the student exactly what to do in every situation, be gifted with the patience of a saint, have the wisdom of the ages at their very fingertips, posses the humor of a stand up comedienne,  and probably look like the teaching staff at Hogwarts.

So all joking aside… how do you find a good teacher? Well ask yourself a few important questions first.
1.)    Who is the instructor and what are their qualifications?
2.)    How expensive is the class?
3.)    How far will I have to travel to attend this class?
4.)    What is the instructor’s teaching style like? Would I be comfortable in their class?
5.)    Would I prefer an online class as opposed to a public class?
6.)    Am I willing to devote, my time, money and energy to this on line/ public class?
 
An important thing for occult students to keep in mind is that, all teachers have their own teaching style. Some are dry and “professorial” for lack of a better word. A few magickal teachers are so charismatic that they draw you in and dazzle you. While some instructors are casual and unstructured. Others are quiet, serious and thought provoking, and there are those lecturers who teach best by combining serious and or practical information with a serving of humor. So you will need to figure out what teaching style would be most complimentary for you as a student.

One of my best writing friends is an amazing lecturer. Seriously. When I sit in one of his in-person classes and am blown away at how lyrical, elegant and smoothly polished his classes on the occult are. They are deep, thought provoking and spiritual. He can lead a meditation in a public class and you are simply transported. It’s damn impressive. (And I don’t impress easily.)
As a matter of fact the last time I sat in on one of his classes when it was over, I looked at him while we relaxed over dinner, and said. “It amazes me how you so smoothly lecture to a class. It’s elegant. I wish I could draw students in the way you do. ”
His response to me was, “Really? I always wished I could make people laugh and have fun in a class they way you do.”

So you see, even teachers are always looking to be inspired and to find better ways to connect with and to teach their students. It takes weeks, and many hours of work on the instructors part to set up good online classes and/ or  "in public" classes. I know the last online class I created, "Herb Magick" challenged me as I wanted it to be a good and thought provoking class on herbalism. Writing the newest class taught me many lessons. I guess that old saying is true, You teach best, what you most need to learn.

A good teacher is always learning, and will push themselves to improve. You should look for that quality. Several years ago when I first began teaching public classes, I discovered right away that humor kept my students interested, and attentive. So slowly over time I let my teaching style evolve. I speak in public the same way I write. Honestly, with humor and I am very blunt, (Yeah, yeah, I am sure you are all shocked by that admission.) I prefer to use real-life situations and examples when I teach, not just dry information.

In my mind, there needs to be a way for the students to connect the magickal topic of the class with their own lives. So, I also incorporate a lot of humor. That is just my personal style. If my students laugh and have a good time while they are learning, then I feel that I have done what I set out to do. They absorbed the information, they will apply it into their life and best of all, they will remember the lesson. To me if a student says “I learned so much and it was fun!” then I feel I have done my job well.


So when on the quest for the “perfect” teacher. You may also want to consider becoming a “perfect” student. Decide for yourself how much time, money and effort you are willing to devote to taking a class. Pick a topic that you will enjoy and whether its an online class or a public in-person class, do the work, put some effort into it, and see what you can learn.
After all the only person who decides whether you have failed or succeeded in your magickal studies…. is you!
Blessed be, Ellen

9 comments:

  1. Wonderful post! Personally I always thought it would be interesting if we could attend a class with Professors McGonagall and Trelawney,figuring they would provide a Ying & Yang experience in their styles! ;o) I think I have attended workshops or classes where I had every style you described above. Haven't had the opportunity to attend one of yours yet, but when I do, will look forward to learning and laughing with you as well!

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  2. Very true about the different styles of teaching. In the past, I had a teacher tell me I was a bad person because I liked to laugh and needed a fun way to learn along with all the serious stuff. After a few months of emotional abuse, I left. There's no shame in admitting to yourself that your style of learning doesn't mix with someone's style of teaching.

    Great topic, Ellen!

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  3. For me it all depends on what is being taught. However, if reading a book to learn I much prefer one that has "real life" stories. Makes it more fun to learn.

    Online classes are great for convience, but I have found that sometimes I lack the self-discipline. lol

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  4. I think it's a good idea to try to work with a teacher's individual style of teaching if at all possible. No one person can possibly know and teach it all, and it's a mistake to shy away from a teacher simply because they have a different style from what you might prefer. You might miss learning something amazing. Working with someone's teaching style is a learning experience too!

    I'm just over the moon that we HAVE actual teachers now! I'm from back in the day when the only teachers most Witches had were books alone. No online classes (heck, no ONLINE back in 1972!), no teachers, no Witch friends. To steal a line from an old cigarette commercial, "We've come a long way, baby!"

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  5. Really helpful article for me as I am currently looking for a teacher and was JUST asking myself how would be the best way to go about it. Thank you!

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  6. If only the public school systems had this freedom to let students and teachers pick their best fit. I have studied energy healing, but I've never taken any occult/Wiccan classes. I really think it's about time I look into this. Truly you make a wonderful point to do your research before the class begins, and there is less likely to be unhappiness afterwards.

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  7. Once again Ellen, thanks for your advice!

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