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Monday, July 11, 2011

The Accidental Student

You don’t have to be a teacher to be a teacher. Not a Yogi Berra quote, but it could have been.  While practicing the teacher’s 3 Rs of summer—recoup, recharge, and reflect—I’ve found myself in the third R sooner than expected.  This summer I am engaged in 3 recoup and recharge activities. I have re-taken-up fly fishing and golf, and I have discovered yoga. What I didn’t anticipate is these activities would force me to reflect on teaching from the student’s viewpoint. In my last blog it was from an observer’s standpoint. Now, I’ve unwittingly become a student. And you know what? Students have a tough job. Teachers can make that job easier . . . or not. Right now, I am benefiting from a great lesson in teaching from the folks at Moksha Yoga in Minneapolis. As I am trying postures no overweight (slightly), out of shape (moderately), adult (questionably), body (reportedly) has any business attempting this crew of instructors has been consistent in their approach.
·        They know the desired outcome. They call it full expression.
·        They recognize where each student is in her own abilities or practice.
·        They next determine what incremental steps and modifications will move each student along in his practice to full expression.
·        Finally, they patiently, yet persistently, set the bar just a bit higher, all the while allowing each of us to improve at our own pace. And they do it all with humility and loving kindness.

Seems obvious, doesn’t it? You don't have to be a teacher to be a teacher. And you don't have to be a student to be a student. For each one of us, maybe we can recall an old “teacher” to thank.  For me, I have found new ones to emulate.

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