Important Tips for New Instructors
- You must be full before you can give back to your students. As instructors we give a lot to our students. Over time, this can be exhausting and lead to burnout. If you are depleted how can you guide someone else in his or her practice and give back to the sangha (community)? Remember to give yourself what you need in order to stay content and joyful, charged up, to the best of your ability. Walking in nature and expressing your creativity are wonderful options to recharge. And, of course, keeping up that daily meditation practice is of upmost importance.
- Hold the space. Your students will experience many emotions and journeys while in your classes. It is important that you make the studio a safe space for them to explore these emotions. A supporting space without judgement or cell phones! 😉
- Don’t be afraid to enforce the studio etiquette. Part of keeping the space safe is enforcing the rules of the studio and maintaining the environment so that they can really be present, without distraction. Don’t be afraid to let students know what is expected of them in the space, in a kind and non-confrontational way. When students see you enforcing the rules they will feel safe and able to connect on a deeper level, this is part of holding the space.
- Keep your teaching simple. Simple cues, simple sequences. The more moving parts you have in your class the harder it will be to keep track of everything and the more likely you will be to make a mistake. It is that simple!
- You will make mistakes, and that is okay. Use them as lessons to make you better and strong as an instructor. Learn the lesson and then forgive yourself for the mistake.
- Teach, teach, and teach some more! Teach wherever and whenever you can. Just like anything, you’ll get better with practice.
- Be honest about what you know, what you don’t know and who you are. Only teach what you know. If you’re not sure how to modify for a student’s injury (or you don’t even know what that injury is!) be honest. Don’t talk about deep philosophy that you have not fully explored yet. Be honest about your strengths and weakness, and where you are in your journey.
And that leads us to….
- Be true to who you are. If we want our students to discover their true selves, then we must lead by example and do the same. The more you teach, the more you will become comfortable in front of the class and then you will be able to open up and be authentic. Take the time to find your voice as an instructor and don’t be afraid to step into your light.