Saturday, February 6, 2010

Those Who Can Teach, Teach, Motherf*cker; It's a Skill!

So, like always, I totally didn't feel like going to teach my yoga class yesterday.  This is exactly why I keep that job:  I will never feel like going to a class on my own.  I will almost never feel like exercising, although I do enjoy going for a walk whenever the stars align in such a way that conditions are perfect, meaning I'll go for a dozen or so walks in a year, living in the tundra of upstate NY, which is really no kinda fitness plan for life, you see what I mean?  So my ass needs to get paid to work out.  And I do.  Hence, the yoga class I totally didn't feel like going to.  But went to, nonetheless, because paid employment is motivational.

And then I rocked that shit out like I'm Elvis and you're some white chick in the 50s with a secret thing for black dudes that you can never, ever mention to your parents, just waiting for a white dude who seems kinda black to rear his biracial soul, or I'm organic frozen meals and you're trying to hang with the suburban mom crowd, but you hate to cook and have nothing to serve the children at at a lunchtime playdate, or I'm patchouli and you're desperate to cover the pot smell, or you're a toddler and I'm the very essence of DOIN' IT MYSELF, or maybe I'm even God and you've been searching scripture and meditating with monks and giving all your worldly goods to the Salvation Army for so long without spiritual enlightenment that you're beginning to doubt the existence of your owndamnself, and then


That's how my yoga class went.

And then for some reason, on the drive home, I started thinking about that saying:  Those Who Can't, Teach.

And suddenly it chapped my ass, something serious.  Now, I'm no yogi, and I won't claim to be.  (I mean, I guess I'm no Elvis, God, or patchouli incense stick either, but apparently, sometimes I will claim to be.  It goes to show you never can tell.)  But what's with the assumption that it's somehow superior to be a yogi than to be a yoga teacher?

Teaching is a skill, and a gift.  No greater, and no less than any other skill or gift.  Observing, assessing, strategizing, attempting, failing, reassessing, empathizing, imagining, reattempting, connecting, soaring, reflecting, comparing, contrasting, documenting, organizing, preparing, beginning again.  It's an art.

And so, to the notion that those who can't create on their own, choose instead to teach, I say:  Fuck you.  I am not an artist of my own soul;  I am an artist of the collective soul.  You tap into your shit;  I'll tap into mine.  I'm not sittin' here talkin' about how jacked up you tend to be (ahem, cutting off your own ear, Van Gogh!), so feel free to keep it to yourself how inferior you find teaching.

Or we could go ahead and acknowledge the inherent connections and contradictions between creating and maintaining, between self and others, between being, thinking and feeling, truth and narrative, thought and action, between who we are and who we think we are.  But, Jesus, then I can't just up and tell you that you're a fuckwad for failing to recognize that teaching is an art, in and of itself.  And I would so like to tell you that.

But then again, it's not the sort of art that typically inspires one to cut off one's own ear, and here I am with both my ears and my sanity mostly intact, so maybe I'm the one who should STFU, and leave it at: those who are thinking of cutting off their ears, should really seek mental health services.  And consider teaching: the summers off and health benefit packages are super helpful!  I bet you could get your ear sewn back on with almost no copay, and then have all of July and August to rest up.  Assuming you cut your ear off in late June.  Really, that's the only way it's going to work out for you, time-management-wise.  If you'd like to discuss it in more detail, let me know.  I'm an excellent planner.

And also:  I'm open to delving into the art inherent in connecting to the soul of another person, and the practice of seeing the world through one another's eyes.  Or teaching.  Whatever you want to call it.  I like to think of it this way: with teaching, art and health care come together like a juicy steak and a rich red wine.  Why have just one when you could have them both?  Teaching is not only a skill, a gift, an art.  It's a motherfucking full course meal.


  1. I used to teach. But it turns out, I can't. Maybe I'm a diet pill.

  2. There are a lot of analogies in this post and um, yeah I learned something.

  3. i loved this post. (found you via BHJs blog! hi!) teachers, in all forms, are the most underappreciated groups in our society, i believe. Where would we be without them? More importantly i wonder about where They, and by They I mean those who spout off *those who can...* BS, were educated. Were they born enlightened and all knowing? Probably not...
    So yes, people bug me; but you dont! great points in this point.

  4. I always heard it differently:

    Those who can, do. Those who can do better, teach. Those who screw everything up, go into administration.