Advanced Teacher Training: How I Made It Look Easy And Just Horrible All At The Same Time

For the last three Saturdays I’ve been attending an advanced teacher training at Yogaview in Chicago.  The course, (Sara Strother, kick-ass instructor extraordinaire) covered qualities of effective teaching; cuing poses toward energy/weight bearing points; and sequencing.

Thing was, the room was full of yoga instructors, and the teacher kept asking for volunteers.  Now, I know for a fact a bunch of the attendees are recent TT graduates; however, some of the attendees are also experienced kick-ass yoga instructors whom I respect and whose classes I attend.  Yeah, I want to volunteer to show my weak teaching knowledge in front of that group.

But I did (I always do…).  The way I figured it, I was there to learn.  No risk, no reward and all that.  And frankly, not a lot of the other kids were speaking up (scared like me? who knows).  So I taught a short sequence.  In front of some of the best yoga teachers I know.  Or tried to.  There was new vocabulary; new concepts; poses moving in directions I’d never thought of before.

Now, I can teach yoga, I’m sure of that.  I’ve taught a ton of classes the last eleven months and gotten great feedback.  I have a strong, confident manner, I don’t get flustered, I can sequence on the fly, and if I get jammed up I can hide it pretty well.  But the new vocab, the new movements, and an inopportune time to brain-jam on sequencing had the instructor interrupting me after almost every cue.  I’ll admit it, I was nervous, I got flustered.  It was a scene, man, a real scene.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a harangue, it was a teaching and learning chance, not only for me, but those in the classroom.  It was just high stress, being in front of all those other teachers (I suspect, though, that many of them would have had the same problems I did, so I figure we all learned something).

But I learned.  Critical thinking about sequencing (about 24 hours after class ended, unfortunately).  Get past the embarrassment and keep teaching because the students / audience, no matter who they are, expect it.  Fake it ‘till you make it.  And I learned that in a room full of yoga teachers, probably half of them (more?) have the same fears and hang-ups.  Seriously, out of four of us who taught the sequence, I definitely had the worst time of it.  But I’ll bet I learned the most, and I’ll bet the other teachers watching no doubt learned from my time in front.

So yeah, I made it look easy.  And just horrible.  But it was transforming, and I can’t wait to put the teachings into practice.

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