As with any learning, it always come from someone, be it a long dead person having written books, our parents, guardians or our teachers.
At university, where there are several teachers doing lectures in the course of a specific diploma, the personality of the teacher matters but is not as vital as in an apprenticeship or single teacher situation.
Since I started studying Chinese medicine and related topics, I realised that what is paramount, aside from the technical mastery of the teacher, is their personality and human values.
Although each teacher will suit some students better than others depending on their approach of the material taught and world view, we (prospects students) have to look out for several essential qualities.
The main quality to look for is humility.
It is great for a teacher to know a lot of stuff and be an expert and even the authority in their field. However, one of the first thing a great teacher will say is that no matter how many years they have been practicing, they are still going back to the basics regularly, still have a lot to learn and are now only starting to really understand what some of the basic theory means in practice.
On the other hand, if your teacher says that they know-it-all and have mastered everything in the field they teach, you will find that their teaching will be quite poor, with a lot of fluff to fill the blanks. This aspect of a teacher is easy to check, have a look at their Facebook and website and see if they talk about themselves and if they do, how they talk about it. An egoistical speech will usually be complimented by pictures which are made to look intimidating or videos where the “master” is showing off.
The second one to look for is passion.
Teachers have supposedly been studying for many years and worked really hard to have a decent understanding and results in their field. So much sacrifice and perseverance seems only possible because of a deep, genuine passion. The passion of the teacher for their subjects will be felt by the students and bring them on board (the fact that the teacher may not be passionate about or skilled at teaching is another matter), even in that case, people will say “they were a strict and tough teacher / master but I was ready to take it all on”.
The third quality, which results from the previous two is humour.
Good teachers and masters have an uncanny sense of humour which is bound to make their students laugh and snicker. It is usually very light and come out very naturally, it is often linked to the material discussed and drawn from personal experience or the personal experience of a colleague.
The fourth quality great teachers usually have is a genuine concern for their students.
No matter the method or workload, great teachers teach what they believe in, making sure that the knowledge and skills they have received are passed down in the correct way and that the students are at ease and starting to assimilate the material taught. Great teachers do not care about the size of their class or prestige of their school, they care about the human, not about the figures or numbers.
The fifth quality of a great teacher is that they will be accessible and human, really easy to chat with and have genuine personalities.
This is really a personality trait I have seen in all of the teachers I have met so far during my courses and CPD events. Although a teacher or master’s role is to talk and transmit their knowledge and skills, it is even more essential for them to be able to feel and listen.
When exploring a new field, to ensure that the person which material i am interested in meets these qualities, I make sure I research the person / master or teacher on YouTube, Instagram and other channel, even a short interview will tell a lot about their personality and how their values transpire through their non-verbal and verbal behaviour.
The above is entirely my views of the qualities any great teacher should have, but I hope you have met some of these people in your families, schools, works as their presence usually brighten the day!
Thank you for reading and thank you to all the wonderful people ( Acupuncture, Manual, Cupping, BMA, Wing Chun, Shamanism ) that have taught me so far!