Six Facets of the Role of Teacher of Pupils

[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]

1. Conceptual teacher

Basic to this role is clarifying the Course’s concepts to your pupil. This is important, but is only the topmost layer. It’s important not to see this as the sum total of your function as teacher. For an example of this aspect in the Course, see M-24.

2. Guide through the program

The Course is more than just a set of ideas, it is a course, an educational program which leads its students into internalizing its ideas. It is your job as teacher to guide your pupil through this program, to help him in his study of the Text, his practice of the Workbook, and his extension of forgiveness to others (symbolized by the Manual). For an example of this aspect, see M-29.1-2.

3. Belief doctor

The pupil will naturally be bringing personal problems and issues to the teacher, whose job it will be to uncover the beliefs that are the real cause of the pupil’s pain, and help the pupil move into new beliefs. For an example of this aspect, see M-21.4-5.

4. Forgiver

The teacher is also meant to be a healer, who heals the pupil’s deep-seated guilt through forgiveness. Even while he is teaching the concepts, or guiding the pupil through the program, the teacher is supposed to see the core of his job as forgiving the pupil. The pupil’s mistakes and resistance, therefore, can be viewed as a precious opportunity to carry out one’s real job of teaching the pupil that he is forgiven. For an example of this aspect, see M-17-18.

5. Example

The most powerful way of teaching, says the Course, is by example (T-5.IV.5:1). As the teacher, you need to be a living demonstration, in your demeanor, your behavior, and your life, of the Course’s way. This doesn’t mean that your words are useless in communicating your message, but these words will have little power unless they are backed up by your life. As the Course says, “Words can speak of this and teach it, too, if we exemplify the words in us” (W-pII.14.2:5; emphasis mine). For a discussion of this aspect, see M-In.1-3.

6. Holy Relationship partner

So much of the power in the teacher-pupil relationship is in the relationship itself. Despite one being the teacher and the other the pupil, real joining is supposed to take place, joining which is supposed to change the two participants forever, by proving to them that they aren’t separate entities, but part of a single Self. For a discussion of this aspect, see M-2.5.