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Choosing a Teacher


You and Your Teacher: What Can You Expect?

Choosing your Craft teacher may be the single most important decision you will ever make. More important even than choosing a mate, or a medical doctor. Those choices apply to one lifetime (usually) and you may form bonds with your teacher that will last for eternity. This is the person to whom you will entrust your spiritual growth, and who will be your friend and guide upon the path. Wherever it may lead you

When you meet a person whom you believe may be your chosen teacher you should think about several things. From your own point of view, do you feel comfortable with this person? Did you feel that "instant rapport" that usually comes upon meeting someone who will become a very good friend? Do you feel you can trust this person? Does he or she seem honest and sincere? Do you like this person? In any of these questions can be answered "no", then you will want to consider the matter very carefully before making any commitment. You will spend a lot of time with this person from now on, and it is essential that you can like and trust him or her

If you meet a teacher that you really like and feel comfortable with, the next step is to ask questions! Be sure you know everything about what will be expected of you, before you enter into a student-teacher relationship. Find out about the teachers training and background, and the system that is being used by the group. Find our if there is to be any financial contribution expected of you. Talk to other members of the group about the temperament of the teacher. Find out how they feel about things, after having been with the group for a while. Try to get as complete a picture as possible of the situation you may be placing yourself into. If the teacher is reliable, you will find willingness, even a desire, to answer any and all of your questions. Any sign of reluctance on the part of the group members or the teacher may be a sign that something is not quite as it appears. Take care, this is an important decision! Be sure to ask the following questions:

How long have you been teaching a structured Wicca class?

How long have you been in the Craft?

Are you initiated? And if so, by whom and in what tradition? Has that tradition been in existence a long time, or did it just start yesterday?

What training has the teacher had? Was it from a Craft tradition, or just from books and life experience?

Has the teacher had any actual training AS a teacher?

Ask to see the materials used in your training. Are they complete and professional? Are they non-existent? Does the teacher use photocopied materials from books and other fly by the seat of the pants materials? Where did the teaching materials come from?

Can the teacher take you to initiation? And if so, are they a high enough degree to actually initiate you?

How long has the group been in existence?

Is the group lineaged? That is, is the group from an established tradition that can trace its initiations back. Or is the group a start-up with no lineaged members?

Who is the priesthood of the group? Have they been trained to the priesthood? Are they initiated, and if so to what degree?

If you find that all questions have been answered to your satisfaction, and that this is a person you really want to work with, the next step is to attend a ritual, or more than one to get a feeling of the group as a whole and the type of work they are doing. If this is also comfortable for you, you are probably in the right place at the right time. Now you can begin.

What can you expect from an Ecclasian Teacher?

What can you expect once your choice has been made? What will your teacher expect from you? Well, for one thing, you can expect to begin to work very hard. Your teacher will work at least as hard, if not harder, so you won't be alone! You will attend classes on everything from healing to self-improvement. You will learn ritual methods, upon which your teacher will probably drill you over and over until your patience is exhausted. You will discuss personal feelings and reactions, and will learn to deal with your emotions. You will take yourself apart and put yourself back together in a form of self-analysis that can be grueling. Sometime along the way, you will probably decide that your teacher is a tyrant and an ogre, and wonder what you ever saw to like! It's a difficult path, your teacher is the one leading you there, and it can produce something akin to hostility.

What should you do about this when it happens? First, remember that the teacher is your friend, and is on your side. Remember that you chose this path and asked that your teacher help you upon it! If you feel upset at any time bring it up, talk about it. Don't be argumentative and defensive. Remember that this is a person who cares about you and your growth. And that he or she is only doing the job you asked them to do. You will usually find that your teacher has a reason for everything, and is perfectly willing to explain; to take as much time as necessary to see that you understand that the system cannot change to suit you, you must grow into it. But your teacher will be patient, as long as you are willing to cooperate, and discuss your problem. If you don't discuss it, it can never be worked out!

You will have a regular schedule of classes and rituals to attend, and you may feel undue demands are being made on your time. Remember that you agreed to those things at the outset, and that they are a part of the work you have chosen to do. Also remember that every moment you spend in class, your teacher is spending too. Your teacher is a human being, as well as a priest or priestess, and enjoys spending time with family, or on hobbies, or on entertainment as much as you do. They are setting this time aside for you because you asked them to, not to inflict their whim or will upon you. Think how you would feel, if you set time aside in your life to spend with someone who then resented being with you. Someone who proved unreliable and failed to appear on time without being courteous enough to let you know so you might make other plans. You would be hurt and upset. Your teacher is human and would react the same way. So be considerate and show appreciation not resentment for the time spent freely and willingly upon your training. Remember the teacher has already had these classes, and he or she doesn't need them. They are for your benefit. Make the most of this time that it may lead you to your goal.

You can expect your teacher to be available to help you with a problem at any hour of the day or night. It is up to you to be certain that this problem really needs attention at 3 AM and that it can't wait until morning. If it is urgent, (or probably if it isn't) you will find your teacher reassuring and helpful, and uncomplaining about being awakened. You must exercise your judgment to be certain you don't take advantage of your teacher's willingness to help.

Basically, what are needed here are common courtesy and an attitude of cooperation. The old Christian "Do unto others" is truly applicable here. Your teacher will be friend to you and offer his or her support and strength. Your teacher is a priest or priestess and will always put your needs ahead of their own. If you remember this, you will be certain you are in need before you avail yourself of their willingness to help. If you are kind and considerate toward this person who will treat you in the same manner, everything will be just fine.

Remember too that your teacher chose to enter the priesthood. That they are doing this because they have been called to do so and they are giving this time of their own free will. Never decide not to let your teacher know you have a problem, so you won't be a bother. It will be much more of a bother in the long run if you remain silent.

The important words to keep in mind here are "perfect love and perfect trust!" Love and trust your teacher, and be lovable and trustworthy, for that is what will be offered to you by your teacher. This can be one of the most rewarding relationships in your life, or one of the most difficult. The choice is up to you. You choose your teacher, and you choose the sort of relationship you will have.

Some people seek for lifetimes before they find their chosen teacher. If you feel that you have found yours, blessed be, and if you decide to go on seeking our blessings go with you. Be Blessed and Blessed Be.


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This page last updated March 10, 2004