When we finish a course, and the students are return to their ordinary lives, I am always very curious what they will take away with them, what realizations they have had about themselves and what they have experienced. Each group has its’ own unique identity, as do the individuals within that group. What they might not be aware of is how much they actually contribute with during the week, whether it be silently, by words or by the feelings they share.
It is amazing, as the days go by how they become closer as they get to know one another better and better. Every one of them mirror so many aspects within me. What they do not realize, or perhaps they do, is that I as their teacher in working with them also get a much better chance to know myself. I can see aspects within me that need to be improved or developed. That can perhaps make me a better teacher and more receptive to what is actually happening within the group.
A very good psychologist that I knew many years ago, a personal friend, once said to me: “People come to me because I have a good reputation for working with people that have problems with intimacy.” Then suddenly she laughed and said: “That is what I am working on myself and I still have not got all the answers.” That has also been my realization working as a teacher over the years. We can never reach a plateau within ourselves where we can say we are done. So with each group I teach I am left with so many unanswered questions, a reminder of what I need to continue working with myself.
As I watch a group interact and share intimate moments with one another, hearing laughter echoing all over the building and experience their enthusiasm and eagerness to understand and learn I ask myself: Where do I find stimulus to motivate me to move on within myself? Yes, I have my network of people who offers me that, but my students also become my teachers. Just by being the way they really are it opens up a door within my mind that motivates me to become more creative. Hopefully it allows the quality of my teaching to improve. I try to be a good teacher, but I do not always have the answers or the tools to give to the students that will help them answer their own questions.
If I embrace the feelings that might come up after a course and accept them I am given an opportunity to learn something new about myself and my potential as a teacher. That is the effect I hope I have on my students.