In my YTT journey, there is a lot of reading. A lot more reading than I’ve been used to. Sometimes the words flow through my brain like a river, not really seeming to stay (but I know they are filed away somewhere for a time in the future when they will serve me or serve another person when I can share them) and sometimes the words convey an idea that resonates in my very being, bringing me to a full stop and the ideas are emblazoned on my heart and mind.
As I began my study, one of the first things I read (in the introductory section of Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison was, “The word ‘educator’ comes from the Latin word, educere, which means to lead forth or draw out.” As a retired principal and teacher, who had desired nothing more in her life since first grade, but to become a teacher, this resonated with me. However, it also created a little anxiety. I wondered, “Am I trying to go backward in life to my place that is comfortable. To my life that I have always lived since I was five, in “school world.” Or, is this truly moving forward?
As more ideas and information washed over my dendrites, the thought occurred to me that being a teacher did not have to look like standing in a classroom in front of students. Maybe it was in a discussion or a conversation. Possibly I share my heart and mind through writing, allowing the readers to bring thoughts and experiences to the story with my words flowing through their minds. Perhaps some nugget attaches itself and sparks thoughts in another being.
“A Course in Miracles reveals, ‘To teach is to demonstrate’.”(Gates & Kenison)
Hmmm… that doesn’t say anything about standing in a classroom.
To put things in my own words, “To teach is to share.”
Wow, this idea is a little scary because I don’t know that I always want to share. I once listened to Oprah say that as a child anytime she had something, like even a candy bar, she always wanted to share it with someone because it made her happier than having it all to herself. I can’t say that. I had been taught that it was nice to share and I should share, but deep down, I really wanted the whole thing. It didn’t really bring me joy to give half of it away. (I’m working on that.)
But, in my perception, knowledge is free flowing and when sharing what I know can support another person on the life journey, it does give me the good feeling.
I’ve always felt that I could teach anyone anything, as long as it was inside of me. As a child, my elementary teachers nurtured this, as I was often allowed to be the one that could get up out of my seat and assist other students when they needed help. When I was in sixth grade, my teacher selected another student and I to be his assistants to help other kids when he was busy. At the conclusion of the year, as a thank-you, he gave me a comical figurine (undoubtedly a recycled Christmas gift) that said, “World’s Greatest Teacher.” I don’t know whatever happened to it, but the memory lives on.
I’ve taught kids to read, to count, to sing, to dance, to somersault, to skate, and to float on their backs in the pool. Most of all, I hope I taught them that they matter and can do whatever they set their minds to do. Teaching is making a difference.
When I first posted online to my friends that I had embarked on YTT, a fellow retired educator commented, “Once a teacher, always a teacher.” At first the comment made me smile and the thought crossed my mind “takes one to know one.” (Will I ever grow up? Probably not.) Then the six words began to resonate with me and I realized she was reflecting my truth. I was a teacher. It reminded me of a time I was in an updated rest area with sensors to operate the faucet at a time when they were unusual. As I washed my hands, I noticed the little girl next to me didn’t understand how to make the faucet work, so I began explaining how to turn the faucet on and how the sensor was like the faucet’s eyes, so you had to show your hands to it so it knew you wanted to wash them. The little girl followed my instructions and happily began washing her hands. A voice from behind a stall asked, “Who are you talking to?” The little girl replied, “A lady. She was helping me.” Her mom emerged and we greeted on another. She commented, “You must be a teacher.” I smiled and replied, “I am.”
In the version of the Sutras I am reading, near the end, the translator explained how some people are born to be teachers. It’s not enough to know things for themselves, but they want to share what they know. It’s their purpose, their dharma. It is their nature. It’s written in cosmic law.
So, today’s “ruby slipper” gem for me? I’m a teacher and I’ve known it all along. Am I going backwards to the life of the comfort of the known and the security of the familiar? No. We have the desire to become more of who we are and who we’re destined to be. Yoga is a mirror and we begin to see our true selves in the reflection.
“Everything in life is pointing us back to our true nature.” – Stephen Cope.
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