Now I’m not going to explain swathes of nonsense about the little green character this week, rather I want to have a look at the role in storytelling of the teacher.
Yoda is far from the only master of sage wisdom in the Star Wars saga and indeed, even the bad guys have their entries in the faculty register clearly defined and the position of teacher is one that is regularly used to explore all kinds of relationships.
The position of the teacher is a vitally important role for all of us. Through our lives, we have to learn all manner of new things and all of the steps along the way, we rely on the input of others. We learn to drive, and we learn new languages, but before all that, we learn to speak, we learn to walk, we learn how to feed ourselves. We have to learn so much along the way, it’s no wonder that we have to rely on the input of others. The teacher, the aged master, the font of all knowledge, is a vital part of all of our lives and isn’t something that should be dismissed as trivial.
We all know a good teacher.
I’m married to one. My mum’s one. My school and college life gave me many others.
A great teacher can take any subject and breath life into it in ways that others may not even consider. Dry and dusty topics erupt in colour and sounds and draw everyone to them, filling all with a wild urgency to discover all that the subject could possibly have to offer.
But leaving behind school or college, the need for a strong teacher is still there. How many businesses have a dedicated Learning and Development department? In each job, you have to be shown what to do and we’ve all been forced to endure death by power point at the hands of someone who really isn’t built for the task.
In my career, I’ve been lucky enough to have filled this role myself and make sure that people are given the right tools to be able to do what they need to. And therein for me, lies the core of what the teacher is there to do.
Yoda did it. So did Mr. Miyagi. The teacher is the one who gives the protagonist all of the tools they need to be able to succeed. They explain things in such a way as to let the discoveries of proficiency be something that the student earns rather than just having them spoon-fed. The student is allowed to explore the materials they’ve been presented with and then apply them. Errors are used to highlight the correct outcome rather than just admonish and should the student think things are too free and easy, their teacher will be on hand to very quickly show them the error of their ways as they demonstrate just how strong they are and just how much further the student has to go. Ultimately, the student can be allowed to then achieve their own successes but also take responsibility for their failures.
A strong teacher is someone who is able to encourage and impart wisdom all the while keeping the student engaged with what they’re doing. I love the feeling of working with people in this field and watching on as they go on to successes fills me with a deep warm glow. I see everyone as being a part of my ‘team’ and I feel protective of my team. I’ll defend my team should they need defence but when it’s warranted rather than every time.
The teacher figure is the one who helps guide. A good teacher doesn’t dictate, rather they enthuse. Seemed to work out pretty well for Luke Skywalker and Daniel LaRusso.