Wisdom from the front of the class:
This month we hear some thoughts from a yoga teacher who has been teaching for three years: “Though it’s great to teach in lots of places and get experience, it can burn you out and turn passion into a chore. Almost 3 years down the track and I’m now in a position where I can teach on my terms. It was getting hard to manage my energy and was turning into ‘I’ll teach x amount because I need the money’ situation, keeping me up at night because I hated that so much and it was really affecting my relationships with my family.”
I agree wholeheartedly. My guidance to new graduates is say yes to everything. When you are a new teacher it’s great to try lots of different classes, sizes, locations, venues, times, etc. After a few months or a few years, you will get to know yourself better as a teacher and know where you thrive. Some of us are meant to be in front of a big class, some of us do our best work with smaller groups or private sessions. While some teachers might thrive in a busy gym environment, others will feel more comfortable and teach their best in a quieter space. Many teachers will be inspired by teaching beginners, but some will do their best work with more advanced students, or older adults, or kids. You don’t really know unless you try.
After trying on lots of different classes, times and venues, you will begin to get clear about where you thrive and where you are most helpful, and at that point you can start to make clear decisions about what classes or situations that you will continue with.
When you first start teaching it can be a great idea to sub – there are always classes requiring a sub for a day, a week, or longer. Subbing gives you a chance to try on a class, venue, time, and a group of students. Subbing takes courage, I know, but it’s also a freeing experience in that it’s not going to last forever, and you can feel free to be curious about who you are as a teacher in that environment without all the pressure (or the admin).
And speaking of admin – I was talking with a wise grad today and she is finding, and I agree, that having systems in place to manage class admin is really helpful. However, it takes time to create systems that work best for you. Through time and practice, you will ‘massage’ your systems like spreadsheets, class registration lists, email lists, and payment processes, until they are efficient, effective, and don’t take up as much time. I’ll talk about this more in a future Grad Update. And I look forward to hearing more Wisdom from the Front of the Class – so if you have an insight, challenge, or success please share it with firstname.lastname@example.org