Tim Titus is the next Mystery School mentor to be highlighted in The Temple Bell’s Mentor Spotlight series. Tim’s student of two years Shawn explains that Tim “holds the bar high and has great expectations, which really make you work harder and in the end learn more.”
Venture below as Tim gives us some insight into his life and his mentoring style.
On the outside, I seem like pretty unlikely witch. I spent most of my life seeing everything through an empirical lens. I’m a high school psychology teacher, and I used to stress psychology’s more scientific disciplines while sort of glossing over topics of consciousness and other areas that suggested a more monistic view of the mind/body/spirit connection. I was, however, always fascinated by religion and that fascination led me to paganism, Witchcraft, and the Temple. I just completed Witchcraft 4.
I live in sunny southern California with my wife Brenda and three four-legged children who sometimes get along. For the last four years I have written for the Pagan Newswire Collective site The Juggler, but I have begun to transition to my own site recently. I was thrilled to have contributed a piece to the anthology recently published by the Temple, Ancestors of the Craft.
How long have you been a mentor?
I am just now completing my second year as a mentor. I have two students who are just about to complete Witchcraft 2.
How do you approach mentoring? Your philosophy?
The first and most valuable thing for me to remember is to separate my professional life as a teacher from my role as a mentor. I am not the teacher. I am the guide. I am there to help the student through the material and help them find their own answers and support them as they overcome their own challenges.
Yet there are similarities to my style of teaching. In mentoring, just as in my classroom, I try to set up a safe space for the student to learn and ask questions. An intimidated student will not take the risks or ask the questions that a trusting one will, and it is those risks and questions that often provide the most energy for growth. If a student is challenged by a concept, it is often a very important one to their own development, so I try to guide the student to the experience that was intended by the instructor.
How do you know if you’ve been a successful mentor?
It’s that light bulb moment; the moment when a student makes a sudden breakthrough and the growth within him or her is palpable. It’s also that moment where they question me and they are right.
What advice would you give a new mentor?
Trust the course. Trust the instructor. Trust the student. Remember the time when all this was new to you, both the wonder and the confusion. Be their cheerleader during the times of wonder, light their path through the confusion, and support them through the roadblocks. Gently help the new trees find their light.