Teacher’s Pride

Ok…ok…there’s a part of me that loved being a teacher. There’s a part of me that still does. However, it’s kind of difficult to express what it is about teaching that is so wonderful (partially I suspect because it’s different for everyone).

The reason it’s difficult to express is encapsulated by my old headmaster (the one I disliked intensely as opposed to the one who made a school rule about the proper playing of pooh-sticks) – let’s call him Bodger Fail who used to say something along the lines of ‘I pass ninety GCSEs a year’ – there were about ninety odd students per yeargroup back then and he taught history and possibly something else… This encapsulates a great deal of what I hate in a teacher – the notion that the student has no agency except what you as a teacher put there and that you, as the teacher, are essentially taking the exams rather than the passed exams being something that are wholly the student’s own.
However, being generous to poor dear Bodger, he may well have been intending to try and express the communication that takes place between student and teacher which, whilst giving him absolutely no reason to take responsibility for the passed exams, does give him (and other teachers) that glow of total HAPPY.

Allow me to attempt to explain:

Today Tarot Pupil had one of her occasional lessons, now every so often I’ve been roughly following my usual curriculam of Tarot teaching – Major Arcana memetics, positions, etc.etc. I do it with all the various people I’ve taught Tarot to and I tend to expect various degrees of application and knowledge by the end. This is because I and most other teachers are used to fairly passive students – most people are, most of the time passive learners (this includes me) expecting knowledge to stick and, if you have a good teacher some knowledge will stick no matter how passive you are, what knowledge sticks largely depends on you as a person and your learning style. Every so often an active learner will turn up and more knowledge will stick and this promotes a happy teacher – though often with active learners this is an excuse to be lazy as a teacher (yup, I’ve done this too…)

But every so often you get a student like Tarot Pupil. (This role was fulfilled by My Friend The Pianist in Japan) You can’t take responsibility for how good they get because all you had to do was be there (I certainly can’t take any sort of credit for her Tarot card abilities, a few lessons and occaisional consults and suggestions are all I’ve done). They get it, whatever subject it is. They’re interested and they actually listen and remember the stuff you say (even, in her case, when we’ve been drunk/stoned/whatever whilst doing it), not only that they look up the stuff you reccomend, they do their own reading and they learn the subject.

It’s that form of pride unique to teachers when it’s not so much that you’re proud of having done something but that you’re proud that you got to be the one who was there and was able to help out. You know full well that had they not bumped into you they had the thirst for the subject that would have been fulfilled by whoever else in their lives had a taste for the subject, yet when you have that final lesson and you realise that this student is going to be better than you are you get this surge of prideful happy.

Tarot Pupil knows exactly what she’s doing now with the cards, I got to listen to her doing a reading and I got to recognise the bit’s that she got from me, mostly recognise which books she got some of the rest from and also (most wonderfully) hear some new stuff from books I clearly hadn’t read!!!!! She was shakey on some parts, hesitant on some parts but in the main she did a very good, very solid reading and the only reason she is not currently better than I am at reading Tarot Cards is a lack of practice.

So if you want your cards read she could do with about a year’s worth of practice 😀

I am so chuffed that I got to be in the right place at the right time for her. Also, it’s ages since I felt this kind of happy, hurray for occaisional Tarot lessons.

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