What Makes A Good Teacher?

“A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” ~Thomas Carruthers

“The true teacher defends his pupils against his own personal influence. He inspires self-distrust. He guides their eyes from himself to the spirit that quickens him. He will have no disciple.” ~Amos Bronson Alcott

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” ~Kahlil Gibran

When someone becomes a teacher of any topic (formal education, spirituality, sport…etc etc..) what makes a good teacher?

Some time ago I heard a quote along the lines of  “The real Master creates Masters not followers” (Osho). And this really had me thinking about what sort of person I wanted to be.

Something in me wants to share my experiences and possibly teach in some way. I am not sure of the way as yet, but I am certain of the person I do not want to be, and my recent letting go of outer teachers has confirmed this for me.

I followed many spiritual teachers in the past and the most recent was Abraham Hicks and all of the teachers of my past were very similar in the teachings they shared. Occasionally they would slip in the statement of trusting yourself, listening to your inner guide but most of them had some big event or big thing to reach for in life. I always felt like someone chasing a carrot dangling at the end of a stick. It wasn’t until I came across Byron Katie and Mooji that I began to recognise how important it was to not only embrace what is in my life but to know that the answers always lie within.

Now I know many spiritual teachers espouse this, yet many of the institutions that evolve in the major spiritual followings are not encouraging us strongly enough to look within, as far as I can see.

Carrot Dangling On A Stick

When I followed the Crimson Circle, I loved the grandiose ideas and feeling part of a special group called “Shaumbra”. It felt exclusive; my ego loved it.  But I let them go when nothing they said seemed to be having an affect in my life. The spiritual shifts coming, just kept coming… just around the corner.

And then I followed Abraham Hicks and initially the teachings to follow my emotional guidance system came in strongly and then the whole ‘VORTEX’ thing came about. Being an Aber I was on the ‘leading edge of thought’ as a Shaumbra I was in this unique group also.. with the Beacons of Light I was a lightworker… all of these spiritual teachers eventually led to creating more and more followers… more and more students…. NOT more and more Masters.

If they did create Masters, eventually the ‘followers’ would no longer need them. Fewer followers means less income and revenue. The inner circle of these groups do very well, thank you very much, with the outer circle dropping wads of cash into their pockets. But the outer circle may not be doing so well. Some may? I am just observing my own experiences and that of others who have dropped back from spiritual teachers recently.

Now all in all, I am glad to know this about spiritual teachers now. They are no longer on the pedestal I had them on for years (when I didn’t believe in myself). But… what do we do if an inner calling calls us to possibly teach or share in some way? What if we want to create an income from sharing, speaking, writing, teaching? How do we do this and keep our morals and authentic nature intact? How do we teach without creating dependants?

Do we simply choose not to, and find other modes of living?

I don’t know the answer right now. Perhaps there isn’t one. I understand people choose how they experience teachers. It was perfect for me to be a follower for many years and now it is perfect that I am my own guide. I guess there will always be leaders and followers, much like employers and employees. Can this truly change in the teaching profession?

I welcome your thoughts on this subject.

Related quotes:

A leader is best when the people are hardly aware of his existence,

Not so good when people stand in fear,

Worse, when people are contemptuous.

Fail to honour people, and they will fail to honour you.
But a good leader who speaks little,

When his task is accomplished, his work done,

The people say “We did it ourselves.”

Lao Tzu


Don’t try to fix the students, fix ourselves first. The good teacher makes the poor student good and the good student superior. When our students fail, we, as teachers, too, have failed. ~Marva Collins

“Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own.” — Nikos Kazantzakis

“The greatest sign of a success for a teacher…is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.” — Maria Montessori



Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

Find me on: Web | Twitter/X | Instagram | Facebook


  1. June 4, 2011 / 8:22 pm

    These are interesting ideas. I love Byron Katie who does teach us question our thoughts. The question that just popped into my head is, "Is it true that Abraham Hicks only wants followers?" It would be interesting to do the work on some of these thoughts! : )

    But, what I also think is that you are exactly where you need to be. It sounds like you have digested a lot from these different "teachers" and now you are ready to speak your whole truth which is where I always imagine these teachers wanting us to be at.

    I do like Abe, but sometimes I get confused by what they are saying. For instance, they seem to differentiate a lot between gratitude and appreciation. Semantics like that drive me insane. Who cares what the difference is. Isn't it what you feel inside that matters?

    I recently heard them talk to a woman who had a very hard time getting pregnant. She told her story and at the end reveled that she was pregnant. I liked her story but was annoyed when Abe told her to stop focusing on the story itself! I get why they told her that, but it was comforting to hear what she went through.

    Anyway, I think your quotes point to good teachers–those who teach us to look within. This is an interesting topic! Thanks.

  2. June 5, 2011 / 5:29 pm

    Hiya Lori (((hugs))

    Great idea on using the Byron Katie thought on Abraham. It's certainly one to ponder. I imagine like many spiritual teachers it feels good share and encourage people so I cannot absolutely know they onle want followers. A part of them may a part of them may not. Hmmm.. interesting thanks Lori for dropping that in.

    I have gathered a lot from different teachers, now I guess I am absorbing only the nuggets that resonate within me and have dropped that which doesn't.

    I like that my previous teachings albeit dangling the carrot on the string led me to myself. Albeit no longer folowing the teachings. I remember the Crimson Circle saying something about some of us would leave them as if those left were the special ones. I chuckle now as I left because I was seeking myself not somebody elses thoughts.

    Its all good. Not sure what kind of teacher I would make. I would like to think honest and authentic with a dash or humour and most of all to keep the awareness that I cannot possibly know whats good for another human being, seeing as we are all totally unique.

    Lori, your a teacher, how does it feel with your students?

    Kelly xxx

  3. June 10, 2011 / 8:33 am

    Hello Kelly

    Just visited your blog, and chose to look at tihs post. Love the quotes you've selected. I think (hope) that this is where I am right now – not looking for teachers to lead me, but teachers to 'allow' me (the Osho quote really hits the nail on the head).

    I run my own self-help site. And from the start I set it out as guru-free; i.e. we ALL know stuff that can help others and we ALL can learn from others too.

    I even came up with my own 'snappy' (?) quote, too:

    "Learn from others… but teach yourself"

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Enjoyed listening to them! 🙂


  4. June 10, 2011 / 2:28 pm

    Hi Steve, welcome to my blog, lovely to have a fellow Brit popping by and also to know there are more people out there with similar thoughts. I like what you said about teachers that allow you. I am certainly a work in progress.

    Much love
    Kelly x

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