In the movie, "My Octopus Teacher", what does he mean by octopus as a teacher?
First, I think it's about realizing octopuses are sentient, "Able to perceive or feel things." The octopus remembered him, a large human, as a passive actor in its world. A big lumbering creature worth exploring and trusting, with nothing specific to gain, such as food or shelter.
Second, and more important, the octopus possesses consciousness by exhibiting creativity, intelligence and intentionality. Beyond its ability to biologically change color and move to evade predators, it created its own disguise from specific objects that it was confident would both distract but ultimately blend into the ocean floor.
The octopus may have exhibited emotion in its desire to leave the safety of its home and swim with the human, and playing with the fish.
My first pastel painting was directly inspired by the movie. My second is from my memory of snorkeling around an octopus in Christiansted, St Croix. It found a nice cozy home in a cinder block.