As with the Seeker’s Bill of Rights, I am amazed at one thing… that these are necessary. Someone somewhere did something that makes it necessary to state these ground rules.
Teacher’s Bill of Rights
This document is presented as a very serious list of rights, followed by a less-serious annotation expanding on each right. This Teacher’s Bill of Rights should be contrasted to the various Students’ Bills of Rights which have been circulated (e.g., Hern’s Wood Coven version) . Both are designed to protect. Note in some cases this Bill of Rights contradicts the Students Bill of Rights; such is the universe.
A teacher has the right to:
Refuse to accept you as a student. No, I don’t have to take you as a student. Even if you believe it’s a perfect fit (or I’m the only teacher you’ve found in 15 minutes of looking) . Nor do I owe you a detailed explanation of why I’m not willing to take you on.
Teach you in the manner they feel is best. As a teacher, I’ve done this before and have quite a bit of experience in teaching (in fact, I was probably teaching before you were born) . I may not teach you what you want to learn when you want to learn it. I (gasp) am likely to make you start with the basics, not the neat spell you saw on TV or in the movies. I may not teach you exactly the same way or in the same sequence as I teach my other students, or as another teacher you might know, or as the last book you read. There are reasons for my doing this. After you’ve taught students for a decade or so you may come back and tell me you understand now why I did what I did. For now, just accept it.
Have a life. Yes, I’m interested in the rest of your life. This does not mean I’m available at 3:00 am to listen to your personal problems. Nor am I available for cash loans, rides, or crashing at my place. If I am nice enough to offer one or more of these do not presume the offer stands forever.
Not be placed on a pedestal. I’m glad you look up to me. But don’t place me on too tall of a pedestal. I’m human – I’m going to make mistakes, have bad days, and in general foul up occasionally. I’ve got feet of clay. So don’t make that pedestal too high – I don’t like heights, and I’m tired of the long fall when you finally knock me off the pedestal.
No assumptions of relationships. Yes, a magical teacher-student relationship forges a very strong magical bond between student and teacher. This should not be assumed to be an emotional or a physical relationship. You’re my student – I’ve got an emotional/relationship life already. It’s not a good idea to mix the two. So if you get a crush on me, don’t be surprised when I politely decline it. Nor are you allowed to get jealous of my existing significant other(s) and HP(S).
Restrict attendance at their classes, Circle, and rituals. I don’t care how long you’ve known them, if they are your best friend, or how many days you’ve been lovers. Our Circles (and classes) are restricted to people approved by the HP or HPS in advance. In advance does not mean a phone call 15 minutes before circle starts. It means you arranging for the HP/HPS to meet the person (s) in question in a social setting some days prior to the event (or whatever your teacher tells you is their process for meeting new people).
Not promote you if they don’t feel it’s appropriate. Accepting you as a student does not mean I’m automatically obligated to give you a First, Second, Third, and/or whatever your tradition calls for. I’m not a public school teacher – my task is to teach and pass on to those who can best use it. I’m not required to pass 100% of my students. In fact, it’s in my best interest to not pass a student if they can’t do the work, are not suited for my tradition, or aren’t ready yet. Because it’s my karma affected by my students as well. So don’t get mad at me because you feel like it’s been too long (but everyone in that other tradition got his or her Third Degree initiation in 90 days – guaranteed!) . I have the responsibility to you to let you know if I don’t think it’s working out. But I also have the karmic responsibility to not hand out degrees I know you’re not ready for. And if you think it’s been too long – have you really done everything I asked you to? Really?
Release a student without prejudice. I’ll release a student for many reasons. They aren’t adapting to my tradition. They aren’t fitting in with the rest of the group. They aren’t making a reasonable effort to move forward. They’ve gone as far as I can teach them in my tradition. But when I release a student, it should not be considered a personal attack on you. And you’re not allowed to spread nasty rumors about my group, my tradition, or me just because I released you.
Not have rumours spread about us. So I sacrifice goats at new moons? Have huge orgies every Sabbat? Wear robes in colours you don’t like? Have you ever seen me do this (if so, why wasn’t I invited?) . If you haven’t actually seen me doing any of this, why are you spreading the rumour? Did I refuse to accept you or a friend of yours as a student (if so, see the item above) ? Did I release you or a friend of yours (if so, see the item above) ? Is it because I’m in a different Circle or tradition? Do you want someone spreading such rumours about your Circle or tradition? Then why spread them about mine? If you really want to know, come ask me.