Mapping my teacher journey
I believe that anyone working in a professional environment is never finished learning. Even when you think you know it all there is always something new to learn.
Being fairly new in the Pilates world I want to know as much as possible and be the best teacher for my clients. It is quite daunting to start a new teacher program at the age of 49. Not that I feel that age as being old but is my body ready, is my mind still as good as it was 25 years ago? Will I be able to bring this new knowledge to life and to business fruition?
Changing careers is obviously not for everyone. Most people stick to what they know. I made the conscious decision to not only move countries but also career. Sounds exciting, which it usually is, but not always fun. It requires patience - not my virtue -, persistence - I got that -, and a lot of support from people around you - got that as well -. Still working on the patience bit though :)
Last weekend I took my first step into a new teacher program with Authentic Pilates Education International. This is what is called a fully comprehensive teacher program
meaning you are learning Pilates on all the apparatus (ie. equipment), on all levels (basic to advanced) and for all bodies (ie. for people with injuries). Just to be clear, I don’t have to do this. I could easily stick with what I have learned until now and be a great teacher. But again, that is not how I roll.
A fully comprehensive teacher program is on average a 600 hour journey which includes several seminars (teaching weekends), registered apprenticeship hours and multiple exams (practical, written and anatomy). Because I have already done several certifications programs I am allowed to bridge (from one program to the other). That means I still have to do the seminars and exams but the apprenticeship hours are a bit more flexible. So, I can practise on my clients and on myself in my own studio as opposed to only do that in the training studio. A bridge program is therefore about 300 - 400 hours, depending on the additional training you might need.
What happens in those seminar weekends is a mixed bag of emotions. You thought you knew a lot but it seems you just scratched the surface. You thought you did it right but perhaps not always the case. Suddenly you are the apprentice and not the teacher so a very different hat. It’s that odd mix of excitement, crawling into a cubby hole, defending yourself as ‘I know how this works’, explosions in your head and being very tired at the end of it.
Now, almost a week later I have started adapting new knowledge into my teaching sessions. Becoming more aware of what I have learned and seeing that in my clients. First feedback from them (but they love me regardless) is very positive. Not a big change but deeper, ‘I feel more’, ‘I got it now’ which to me is the biggest winner.
Being an older student is actually quite nice. Making notes on anatomy (I was never good at Latin), describing case studies why bodies are doing the things they do or don't including my own and of course how to correct them. But I guess the best part of doing a fully comprehensive program is that you learn how to connect the dots. There is a reason why Pilates is more than just the mat, why exercises are done in a certain order and why they can be done on other apparatus.
More to come
My new teacher journey has just started and I intend to keep you updated on my progress as the year goes on. Bear with me in the meantime whilst I am adapting new elements into the classes and private sessions.
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Marco Dingemans is a qualified Classical Pilates instructor