Tuesday, March 31, 2015

On new apprentices

This weekend I am taking my first apprentices since having become a laurel about a year ago. The timing is marginally off as one of them is about to give birth so we bumped belting up a few weeks so I didn't have to orchestrate around birthing schedules. Good that.

This is a learning curve for me but one I'm enjoying.  I already work very well with all three of these ladies and they have been my students formally for several months now. They also get along with my existing household as I have not split off to form my own after my elevation.

The fun - and learning part - is learning to understand their backgrounds. It's very easy to assume that someone you are taking as a student knows less than you about "all the things." In truth, that's rarely true. Tatiana can school me in the general organizational finances of a group and knows more about Russian history than I ever will.  Toki has all of this incredible drawing skill and is an awesome and ever improving fencer. Adelina's drawing skills and emotional empathy far outrank my own.  None of this is precisely what I'm talking about however.  Part of the relationship I am forming with these three ladies is understanding their own strengths and weaknesses based off their experiences.  They are, without me, quite capable adults and human beings in their own right and so part of my job as their peer (and friend!) is figuring out where I can help them grow further - and, in truth - where they can help me grow as well.

Unlike children, we gain our students with lives of skills and experiences behind them that we need to take into account in interacting with them. It's easy to assume ignorance or lack of skill when knowledge and competence are present already, or to be unaware of past history that can make a student more capable in an area than their SCA experience (usually vastly shorter than their life experience) doesn't yet fully showcase. 

It's a challenge. But one I am looking greatly forward to experiencing as I grow with my new associates!