The work of deciphering which archetypes belong to you is so important because it challenges you to get specific about who you are. If you are interested in knowledge and passing it on, could you choose just one of these two archetypes to identify yourself? How well do you know your hunger for learning?
The mentor archetype looks a lot like the teacher because both are in the position of giving instructions, but there are many ways they differ.
The mentor archetype not only invests in the student learning certain material, the mentor takes interest in the route the student goes with the know how. By definition, the mentor imparts advise. Advice is to “offer suggestions about the best course of action to someone” or “to give someone a recommendation about what should be done” (per Apple dictionary and Merriam-Webster dictionary respectively).
The mentor is the person you go to for help in making a decision. An empowered mentor artfully guides the student to an authentic resolution without getting the way. The student not only attains her answer, but understands how to get there on her own the next time. In the shadow, the mentor archetype becomes rigidly intent on the student following her direction and opinion. Another downfall of the mentor is giving the solution up front without letting the student work her own way there.
Intimately tied with wisdom, the mentor archetype uses experience as a teacher. She shows by doing rather than telling. She encourages the person she’s taken under her wing to try things for herself. The enlightened mentor is able to stand aside and watch mistakes. She knows that her role is not to control every move her student makes. She is there to help the mentee learn how to think for herself.
The relationship between mentor and student is one-on-one. The mentor dedicates a great amount of time to taking one student under her wing. She accepts responsibility for one student. She usually fosters that student through the entire process of learning a craft or skill. Her goal is to see her students fully fledged in the world, a master in her own right and no longer in need of advise.
On the other hand, the teacher archetype has to do with a classroom full of students. Thus, her teaching style is more generalized than customized. This is a common point of struggle for the teacher – wanting to reach every student, but not being able to given the constraints of working with so many personalities at once. In the shadow, this is a major stressor for those with the teacher archetype. Letting go of the need for control is a critical factor for those with this archetype.
Teachers commonly take students through a phase of a learning process (such as a school year), unlike the mentor who covers the beginning, middle and end of a topic. With the teacher archetype, the focus is shifted from mastery of a subject to measurable progress in ability. One challenge of the teacher archetype can be an over-identification with student’s grades and test scores. The teacher that understands that learning is never ending is able to relax these unreasonable tendencies.
In the shadow, people with the teacher archetype can develop the annoying habit of thinking every moment is teachable and every person needs to learn something. The teacher becomes the lecturing expert and students stop listening.
Like the mentor, the teacher also prefers to teach through experience, but she understands that no two students learn alike. Some students need hands on activities, others need time to read information, and others still need to talk through things. The light aspect of the teacher archetype embodies the marvelous ability to juggle, weigh and balance all of these needs at once.
The Teacher Contains the Student
A constant student in her own right, the teacher archetype continually researches how to teach. She learns how to read her students needs and how to better meet them. She learns how to manage the classroom and teach life skills alongside algebra. The balanced teacher understands that lessons of conscience are as important as grammar lectures. The teacher archetype carries the knowing that the best way to learn something is to teach it.
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About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch is a Spiritual Director who teaches about archetypes and symbolism. Her speciality is working with soul pioneers - those of you who are making it up as you go along the spiritual path. She works with beginner and life-long spiritual seekers. Through working with Stacey, lost seekers find their way home and professional spiritual guides receive mentorship. Stacey empowers people with the ability to explore their purpose and calling. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.