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Tracy Courtney

Importance of a Good Teacher

Our teachers, especially the ones who first help us begin to grasp new subjects, are much more influential than we may realize. These preliminary teachers set the stage for how we feel, act & respond toward all subjects moving forward throughout our lives. We will often hear these voices & common phrases repeatedly in our minds.

I personally don't like the word teacher as it has come to imply one who instructs as opposed to one who guides. Through my experience, the best teachers don't follow a doctrine or consecutive set of steps. The ideal teachers offer questions to ponder rather than dictations, supports the students in following their own ideas, exploration of concepts & peripherally guides the students through to their own conclusions.

Students retain very little of dictated material that is conceptually based because there is a natural block through social conditioning of adopted beliefs. How many have watched a horse trainer & spent most of that time judging & comparing? It takes a considerable amount of time to weight the opposition of personal beliefs through our own perceptions & seeking the advice of others. Experiential instruction in contrast, is understood & breaks down all barriers immediately, through allowing personal exploration & mistakes without judgement or blame.

A good teacher knows how to provide just the right amount of pressure to move the student out of their comfort zones in order to progress & slow down to provide ample time to reflect & allow for analyzation & comprehension of the material. Fears & phobias can never be resolved by avoidance & must be balanced by;

- a teacher who will show the student how to overcome without force

- observe what the student can do well & begin from there

- they're trying too hard to force things rather than going with the flow softly

- relax the mind, emotions & body

- it doesn't matter what physical attribute they're trying to achieve. Let them choose what's most comfortable for them & what they feel they know best

- they have a choice to be loud or soft in their thoughts, emotions & physical actions but starting loudly leaves nowhere to go

- we are too focused on the horse's physical attributes which doesn't allow us to be in touch with our own physical aspects

- because we have learned to focus our full awareness inside our heads, we are out of touch with the amount of mental, emotional & physical pressure we're applying: we have no idea whether our physical language is soft/loud, calm/reactive, clear or completely muddled & incoherent

- only after we're fully aware of our own body language, should we begin to analyze our horse's body language

- while analyzing our own body language, we will find blocks to understand & overcome

- teachers who are forceful & dictating can be unaware of the blocks they are creating & these can be very difficult if not impossible for some to overcome

- to overcome blocks, we must be perfectly comfortable with making mistakes & laughing about them

- if we make a mistake, don't repeat the request, as we're often taught to do: just move forward & be aware of it so we can be prepared next time

- increased speed will always make things worse in the beginning & doesn't allow for reflection time or a reduction in stress

- trying to focus on details too early is often the root of feeling the need to move quickly: we have been taught to focus on the destination instead of enjoying the ride

- when we go slowly, we experience so much more through our multiple sensory awareness that isn't possible with a head full of thoughts & speed

- when we focus on the physical attributes, we miss all of the discussion & feeling happening during the intervals that complete the picture as a whole

- what happens during the intervals of physical actions is where the answers to our questions are found

- we have been taught to perceive only a small part of the picture that we view with our eyes. Like the waves of the ocean, we will never see peaks without troughs or troughs without peaks. Although they may seem like two separate actions, they are the continuation of a single event that must flow together to form the whole

- a good teacher listens to understand & provide guidance to help the student to navigate through the learning curve because one shoe doesn't fit all: there must always be an open door of discussion & choices

- the best teachers use experience to offer short cuts that will create relaxation for all involved. This creates a pleasant environment that opens the mind to learning & retention. It motivates the inquisitive exploration into new subjects & ideas

- the best teachers will not use consecutive & repetitive steps because when worry or frustration arises, there is nowhere to go to move back into a relaxed & confidence building state

- the best teachers will show you where to look but not tell you what to see