Asking an expert to teach you

A question to the Kingdom A&S Minister, Master Philip White:

“I want to learn a new art. I asked a Laurel to teach me but they were reluctant. I want to learn! Aren’t they supposed to be an expert? Why won’t they help me?”

A reply from the Minister:

One of the first things I heard about the SCA was that you could ask almost anyone about almost anything and they would teach you how to do it.

It is a wonderfully romantic idea. It is certainly one worth working towards. But, when you think about it, that’s a tall order!

Let’s be realistic. And consider the circumstances.

How best to start to get your answer?

Ask that Laurel why they’re not up to teaching. They’re going to give you best answer for their situation.

Still, there are some common reasons why Laurels, or really anyone who is an artist, may not want to teach a class.

First off, teaching is both a talent and a skill. Not everyone is born with the natural inclination to be a teacher. Not everyone has been trained in the skill set it takes to be a good teacher.

By the time someone is elevated to the Order of the Laurel they generally have a good idea of their own expertise and limitations. They may simply know that they do not make a good teacher.

It may also be that they are less confident working with beginners. Some artisans are better at teaching people who are already somewhat experienced. They may be best at teaching advanced or masters classes instead of entry level or how to classes.

And lastly? People are people. That Laurel or artist may just not be in good shape to teach.

They may be out of practice. They may not be feeling confident. They may be tired from lots of work. Or they may have family stresses. Or some other obligation altogether.

Or maybe they are just shy. I know that may be surprising. They are a Laurel after all. Part of their role is to share knowledge. They might go about fulfilling that role in other ways, though, than teaching classes or working with people one-on-one. They may teach people through publications instead.

You shouldn’t take it personally.

If they can’t teach you then maybe they know someone who can. Just ask! There’s help out there for you.

Remember… Have fun! Learn! Teach!

Your Servant to Command,
~p.w.