Advice... for new(ish) instructors
Becoming a new instructor can be exciting at the best of times and terrifying at the worst of times. Take some comfort in knowing that all instructors have been there. Even you favourite, most confidant teachers were once scared out of their minds to walk into a studio and teach a room full of strangers. We all got through it and so will you.
Here’s some advice my teacher told me when I was finishing my 200-hr. yoga teacher-training program. I now pass this advice on to my teachers in training.
1. Teach, teach, teach- Teach wherever, whenever and whomever you can. Practice makes perfect and it gives you confidence. Be available to jump in to sub at a moment’s notice and don’t be afraid to teach at different locations or to different populations.
2. Support your students to have their own experience- Part of our job as yoga instructors is to support our students to find themselves, to help them connect. It is not our job to impress our students or show-off, it is not about us. It is also not our job to force them to have a certain experience. Support them by creating an open and respectful environment where all experiences are valid. Lay the foundation of support, non-judgement, and acceptance and then they can have the experience that they need.
3. You can’t be all things to all people- Be true to who you are and your individual strengths and weaknesses. If you try to fake a certain personality that you think your students want it will not be authentic and your students will see right through it. Be authentic and you will draw the students to you that enjoy your particular style. The students that don’t care for your style will go elsewhere and that is okay.
4. Practice- This can be really hard when you first start teaching a lot. I think every new instructor has to find his or her own balance between teaching and personal practice. Remember you cannot give to your students if your tank is empty, so meditate. Also, you cannot teach what you do not know so keep practicing asana. Continue to practice so that you continue to grow and keep your passion alive.
5. Connect with your students- Getting to know your students will not only make you a more sought-after instructor but it will also give you joy and contentment. Get to know thier namesEven when I’m feeling tired and not very inspired to teach, once I walk into the studio and see all of my friends, I get excited. It really is like going to a party to see my long-lost friends every day!