During my most recent equine massage class, one of the students remarked that I should have shirts made with my logo prominently displayed. “We could buy them. It would be cool.” I said “Do you know what would be even more cool? Take what you’ve learned, go home and use that knowledge and those skills and start your business. Then have shirts made with your logo. Then send me one. That would be really cool!”
The Japanese word for teacher is sensei. The word literally means one who came before. I tell my staudents that I have been on this path for awhile and now you are joining me. I will show you all I’ve found along the way. A sensei shares knowledge and experience beyond the nuts and bolts of their subject matter. A sensei is a mentor. Rather than wearing my logo on a shirt and celebrating my success, I want my students to celebrate their success. The ultimate joy is watching a student learn and understand, then fan the flames of their enthusiasm as they find their own way to rock! (to quote Mr. Burton Cummings)
One of my favorite scenes in the wonderful film Billy Elliot happens when Billy says goodbye to his teacher before he leaves to study dance in London. He is excited yet terrified to leave home and begin his advanced studies. His teacher tells him to “go out and find life.” She then turns back to her class of beginners. She does what a teacher, a sensei, does. The Sondheim lyric says it well: Guide them then step away.
I want my students to be happy that they chose my program for the education and training they receive. I love that I receive emails and phone calls with updates and stories from my graduates. As a mentor, I’m available to answer questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll help them find it, then I’ll learn more along the way also.
I’m also a Reiki Master. I read once that being a Master is really being more a servant. You are serving your skills to others and then forever extending a hand to help. I like that image.
Master, sensei, teacher….all cut from the same cloth.
The student in the equine class successfully completed her exams and was certified. As she was leaving the barn, exhausted but happy, we shared a hug. She stepped back, pointed at me and said, “I’ll get that shirt to you.”
Thank you. It will be an honor.