I've really enjoyed reading the latest posts, especially Sue's stream
of consciousness about the YLs classes, and dk's about the Korean
folk story, which actually made me laugh out loud. Great to read
people who write with style.
And Dennis, you perceptively cuaght the thought between the lines in
your comment on what I wrote about teacher roles. I often find a
slippage of roles between teacher and therapist, which in the 121s
threatens to become an avalanche. Why, only the other day when a
student was telling me about her problems at work she joked: 'now I'm
making you my psychologist!' Maybe it's inevitable when you spend 60
minutes with a person with the objective of having them talk about
whatever's on their mind at that moment, exactly like a therapist -
and even your listening techniques are culled from Carl Rogers...
I try to use humour and language study (sometimes it's useful) to
keep the boundaries well-drawn, but sometimes you get caught with
your defences down. Like once when a company director took me out to
lunch and told me that his wife was acting strangely independent
since she'd come into an inheritance (which gave her her own money
instead of depending on his). I reached out but there was no scrap
of paper to scribble 'got a life' to teach him...
Sometimes you even get full-blown projections. The same guy told me
that I was like him, despite the fact that we had nothing in common
apart from our age. And of course, all the money we were earning...
Training is a breeding-ground for these psychocomplications. I had
enough weird things happen to me in feedback groups for me to
conclude that I needed a therapist's skills to understand and act on
what was happening - or that I was the weird one and needed therapy
As one of my trainers said once, 'Get the people thing right,'
implying that it was half the battle in teaching. Unfortunately on
that particular course there was no 'geetting the people thing right'
module on offer. And I've been looking for one ever since.