The Magus

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Stonecoast Graduation Night, July 2016, with the Ultimate Magus, my mom

Magus has many historical contexts, dating back to the 6th century BCE but the feeling the word evokes in me in terms of how I teach is this: “One who initiates the elements (i.e. supernatural) to achieve an effect in the natural world.” This is an esoteric way of saying that I do not employ a linear or “top-down” way of teaching but instead approach the appointment or lecture as exploration, expansion and transmission. In other words, student and teacher enter a circle of learning and both will trade off their “titles” (student will become teacher and vice versa), allowing for a dynamic exchange to unfold which enhances both parties long after the appointment is over.

I assume all students already possess the knowledge, ability, wisdom, and adeptness they need in order to carry out the task in front of them. My job as teacher-magus is to extract the vital components of their mind as well as their spirit because no student can succeed if they do not feel confident in their abilities. In this vein, I am a wise-pointer, directing them back to their innate wisdom and building up their mental awareness so that they can learn new things, retain what they have learned and be self-assured that they can move into becoming a vibrant mix of student and teacher.

Collaboration and co-creation awakens a sense of excitement, curiosity and empowerment that is vital in any educational setting. Whether I am working one-on-one with a graduate student, helping a high school senior polish her college essay, or delivering a workshop on the shadow narrative to a room full of writers, engagement with the creative mind is my ultimate goal. In Magus mode, the teaching and the learning is more enriching and imaginative, revealing how our true natures as creators can be exacted.

Mary Katherine holds an Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writing Program and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Colorado State University. She has taught undergraduates at USM in writing instruction and currently is an On-Line Writing Tutor for the graduate programs at the University of New England.  

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