Congratulations New Teachers (Now What?)
Congratulations to the new group of teachers graduating from teacher training. Welcome to the team. This is a great job, journey, lifestyle. Here is some advice to help you on your way!
The first step of training was to memorize the words, the Dialogue. This is the goal of your teacher training posture clinics, to learn the words and deliver them. While you had nine weeks to memorize the Dialogue (first set, first side), this is just the beginning—the first step that sets up all the other steps. You memorized the words. This will allow you to teach those first classes—you will have the basic directions for everyone to get in and get out of the postures. This will also give you the proper timing for each posture and your class in general.
You started to memorize the words of the Dialogue at training. Hopefully you have a good memorization tool as there is so much in the Dialogue you have not memorized yet or understand. When the memorization and understanding come together, this is a powerful product—you can get there, it takes time and work, but it is worth it!
Trust the process. You hear it over and over again. But the process does work. You spent nine weeks shoving all these words, posture directions, Dialogue, into your brain. You will doubt that you can recall Awkward Pose by the end of the training but don’t scare, you have been practicing for nine weeks to remember and then recall the words. This is the skill to get through the first class. To start, this is what you are doing: recalling info you learned at training.
Don’t wait, get in the room and teach your first class, it is actually the last step of training. You will get through it and you will be fine! (as far as I know, no one ever died teaching their first class).
I can give you a few hints to make the first class better: before you teach, look over the breathing exercises and the sit up, you have to teach them and they were not covered in training. Just look them over so you can have a few tools to teach them. Also I tell teachers to have a way to get in and out of the room, “Hi my name is ___________ I am going to lead class today”, “again my name is _____, I will be out front if you have any questions, thank you for sharing your practice today.” Don't try to make up anything fancy, or over plan it, keep it simple. Over time you will find the thing that works for you. Give yourself time to bring your personality into the room.
When you first start teaching you are just seeing what is in that brain of yours—what really stuck—you will be surprised how much you actually know. So that’s your first few classes—just standing in the front of the room seeing what words, Dialogue, actually shows up. You may worry you will say something stupid—you will—just laugh and move on. New students do strange things all the time—let it go. Be as kind and patient with yourself as you will be with your students.
I encourage new teachers to teach their first 5 or 6 classes without looking at the Dialogue again. Don’t try to add more information yet, just give yourself time to see what comes out. After the first few classes, you can start studying again but be judicious. You can’t learn everything, all of it, at once—so just work on one thing at a time.
Each posture is a new event. If you are dissatisfied with your delivery, let it go—move on. Approach each posture as a new entity. Just as a student should.
As a new teacher you may just be reciting Dialogue to start. Over the course of classes, weeks, or months you may have times you don’t even see the people in the room—this is normal. Just keep learning and using your Dialogue until you can say it without thinking much.
As a new teacher, it is also normal to forget lines and add them back in again. Don’t worry—keep teaching with Dialogue until it is consistent. What does consistent mean? It means you are saying the same thing in each class, every time. This is the point you need a good, solid Dialogue teacher to take your class and help you with any missing information.
Please be patient with yourself, you are a beginning teacher. Take time and build a great Dialogue foundation to your class. Once you have the foundation then you can add in other skills, corrections etc. But until you have the good foundation it's hard to add other tools and still be effective.
Most importantly: don’t stress, have fun, keep learning. Find a good mentor. Don’t let anyone steal your peace or give you feedback that makes you feel like you can’t be a great teacher. Every student deserves a good teacher, every teacher deserves the opportunity to be a great teacher. Teach from love (start with yourself first). Good luck!