Friday, 9 November 2012

How to find the right teacher for you.

Learning is a very personal experience, though many students regard it as something of a group activity, certainly a competition, and often anticipate a degree of personal failure along the way. An expectation of failure is in opposition to our make up, and a good teacher will help you find ways to succeed - help you to find ways to expect to succeed.

Therefore, an important element in everyones learning experience is the teacher you choose. (I appreciate that in a college situation you may not have any option, but outside of that environment, we get to select whose class we join). This is a very basic fact that SO MANY people ignore. If we want to buy a chair, for example, we don't go out and buy ANY chair, we are selective.  Or if you were looking for classical guitar lessons, you'd not want to sign up with someone who only teaches Rock guitar. The same should happen when looking for a teacher. (and while the language we use may encourage you to think you are looking for a Class, what you are really seeking is a Teacher. The Class is all the other folks who are also looking for a Teacher.)

Here are some questions to ask yourself, as a Learner.
In advance of enroling - does this person appear interested in my learning, or are they keen to sweep me along with something I am not interested in doing?
Is the teacher asking any useful and relevant questions about ME?
Is the teacher guiding me in a positive way before I enrol?
Is this class structured in any way?

Once you begin attending a class -
Do I feel comfortable and nurtured?
Have I learnt anything that I didn't know already?
Do I feel important in the group?
Do I feel welcome?
Do I understand what I am being told? Do I feel that it is ok to ASK, if I don't understand?
Does the teacher care?
Am I being praised - in other words, is any notice being taken of any improvements I am making?
Is this enjoyable?

What to avoid like the plague..
EVERYTHING that makes you feel uncomfortable. Everyone's interpretation of this will be different. Personally, I can't bear sarcasm from a teacher, or any language that humlitates of discomforts a student.  No one should be laughed at or humiliated in any way. This will seriously hinder any possibility of the student learning anything.
Avoid the teacher who can't answer your questions. If you aren't progressing, don't assume it is because you are hopeless, ask for help. If it doesn't come, ask why that is.

And when you have FOUND the right teacher for you, make sure you always book your seat in advance, and then tell everyone you know - for they may be looking for them too!

Currently, I am a student as well as a teacher, and its an interesting and valuable experience. The tutors are fantastic and I am so grateful. We can all recognize the teacher who gives way beyond what is expected and it is good practice to acknowledge their gifts as we go along. A great teacher GIVES, and it doesn't take a lot of effort to recharge THEIR batteries, by thanking them.

Three cheers for the great givers out there. Thanks.

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