It has taken a while to write this Yoga blog post because I really do not like writing anything political or offensive online. Lately there has been a proliferation of Teacher Training courses that just scream buyer beware.
As many of you know I have been teaching for a very long time and I have seen a lot of trends in the community come and go. This quick trip to becoming a teacher is a scam. First of all you really need to ask yourself “is this what I really want” and am I a good fit for this job? Do you really want to change the world we live in? I think that is a good place to start.
Any teacher training really is a primer and without follow up and consistent refinement you will become an average teacher at best. Online courses and then day Yoga teacher training retreats should be avoided like the plague. There is always the exception to this rule but I am a veteran teacher I can tell you there is a difference between someone that has been coached over years and years and the newly minted ten day trainee teacher that never had any follow up by a skilled veteran teacher.
Here are some things to consider.
Will I be given a mentor that I can practice with over a few years? Will the teacher come and audit my teaching?
Is there a detailed manual written by a qualified teacher and or teachers. I personally use Teaching Yoga by Mark Stephens because it is in depth and has the basic foundations I believe are necessary. You are required to read it cover to cover. Ask yourself do you want be great as a teacher or do you just want to have fun? If your answer is the latter go to Hawaii and take a yoga retreat with hiking, massage and a lot of time by the pool sipping margaritas.
Are there exams? Is there a final exam? Who has this school trained?
Again being viewed and audited teaching class is critical because habits form early on and they may need to be corrected. For instance many teachers speak way too low. This is very common and if you play music and students cannot hear you then you will have a lot of difficulty building classes. Without growth you will not be able to sustain classes for long. Even a gym with membership will watch class attendance and ask for feedback from students.
The teacher training needs to have clear curriculum and exams. How does one know if anything was retained? Exams allow the teacher of the course to rate their own effectiveness. This also helps the studio grow and course correct but more importantly this ensures and assists retention of information. Your final exam should also be the class itself. We have a list of more than twelve specific points that we look for that are assessed before the teacher is considered ready beyond community classes.
The “teacher within you” is your guide. Yes there is some truth to this in meditation, ultimately you need to find what works for you. We are not talking about meditation alone. Yoga is a very broad and detailed subject. You are moving people through sequences and they can be very complex. Plus, people are complex. To work with students you have to take into account psychology, physiology, injuries, goals, personal history of the student both physically and emotionally. How you deal with all of that may make or break your career.
To be honest there really is no set time that it takes to become a teacher. But these points should serve as a guide. You will always be refining your skills.