Pilates Teachers' Manual

Becoming a Pilates Teacher

December 03, 2020 Olivia Bioni Season 3 Episode 12
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Becoming a Pilates Teacher
Chapters
0:00
Welcome
2:25
Do you want to teach Pilates?
5:42
Pros and Cons to Teaching Pilates
10:30
What Teacher Training Looks Like
15:19
Upfront and Hidden Teacher Training Costs
17:49
Explore Your Options
19:51
Read Return to Life
Pilates Teachers' Manual
Becoming a Pilates Teacher
Dec 03, 2020 Season 3 Episode 12
Olivia Bioni

This episode is an overview for becoming a Pilates teacher. I discuss everything from questions to ask yourself if you're considering becoming a teacher, considerations about the life of a Pilates teacher, and what to expect from a Pilates teacher training program.   

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.   

Show Notes:

Here's my journey to becoming a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher: *https://bit.ly/PTMs1e1*

Check out these amazing interviews with other Pilates instructors to hear their personal journeys to becoming a teacher.

Sarah McGinn: *https://bit.ly/PTMs1e10
Jessica Valant: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e1
Sarah Dami: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e4
Marimba Gold-Watts: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e12
Jason Williams: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e14
Beth Sandlin: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e3
Sabrae Garrett: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e7
Chelsea Corley: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e9

And stay tuned next week for a great conversation with Martin Reid from Core Conversations!

Here's Breathe Education's & Things You Must Know Before You Do a Pilates Course: *https://breathe.edu.au/* A lot of choosing a training program is subjective, but they have some great info for looking at programs whether or not you're in Australia. 

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

This episode is an overview for becoming a Pilates teacher. I discuss everything from questions to ask yourself if you're considering becoming a teacher, considerations about the life of a Pilates teacher, and what to expect from a Pilates teacher training program.   

I want to hear from you! Share your thoughts and follow the podcast on Instagram and Facebook @pilatesteachersmanual. Full show notes, episode transcription, and chapter markers can be found on the podcast website here: http://bit.ly/pilatesteachersmanual. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast for updates, and rate and review wherever you listen!  Episodes now available on YouTube: *https://bit.ly/YouTubePTM

Email [email protected] with your feedback.   

Show Notes:

Here's my journey to becoming a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher: *https://bit.ly/PTMs1e1*

Check out these amazing interviews with other Pilates instructors to hear their personal journeys to becoming a teacher.

Sarah McGinn: *https://bit.ly/PTMs1e10
Jessica Valant: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e1
Sarah Dami: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e4
Marimba Gold-Watts: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e12
Jason Williams: *https://bit.ly/PTMs2e14
Beth Sandlin: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e3
Sabrae Garrett: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e7
Chelsea Corley: *https://bit.ly/PTMs3e9

And stay tuned next week for a great conversation with Martin Reid from Core Conversations!

Here's Breathe Education's & Things You Must Know Before You Do a Pilates Course: *https://breathe.edu.au/* A lot of choosing a training program is subjective, but they have some great info for looking at programs whether or not you're in Australia. 

Support the podcast:    

Visit https://links.oliviabioni.com/affiliates to take advantage of some sweet savings! 

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Tobu - Good Times [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/YHSH9k9ooZY
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/goodtimes

Track: Tobu & Itro - Sunburst [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/4lXBHD5C8do

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the [00:01:00] podcast. This week, I'm going to be discussing choosing the right teacher training program for you. And I'm looking at this in kind of three phases of adventuring. First phase is how do you know that you want to be a Pilates teacher? And what does it mean to teach Pilates for your overall life? Also, what does teacher training itself look like to be a Pilates teacher? So that's what I'm going to be diving into right now. 

A little bit about me. If you've been listening to the podcast for a while, you may already know this, but just sharing again, that I am a Nationally Certified Pilates teacher, which means I took what was formally known as the PMA exam, which is now the National Pilates Certification Program exam, in addition to my comprehensive studio certification. And I've been teaching for just about three years now, full [00:02:00] time. Teaching Pilates is the only thing that I do. So I'm going to share a little bit with you as well my experience with the studio certification process, and if you're interested in a little bit more information about the National Pilates Certification exam, highly recommend you check out the very first episode of the podcast Becoming a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher and that will answer some of those questions. 

How do you know if you want to teach Pilates? You may already be a Pilates teacher, or you may already be in teacher training while you're listening to this podcast. But how did you know that you wanted to teach Pilates? 

Some things that I think of are, or some questions that I found myself asking myself as I was preparing to undertake Pilates teacher training, and that was: do you love movement? Do I love movement? I do love movement. I would normally say, do you love Pilates? But fun fact, I actually did not know that I loved Pilates when I signed up for [00:03:00] Pilates teacher training. 

So maybe my story is just a word of warning to everyone. What happened is I was working at a studio that offered yoga, Pilates, Zumba, like a full adventure of fitness. And I was filming parts of Pilates teacher training, it was called Body School, where they sort of distilled all the anatomy bits and then put them in one section. I was filming it and I just loved the way that the teacher, Marylee, was talking about movement. And I loved the way that she was thinking about the body.

I was only a yoga teacher at the time, but I just fell in love with the Pilates way of thinking about movement. And so that's why I signed up for the teacher training. If you also love Pilates, you're probably a good candidate to be a teacher, but if you just enjoy movement, you may also want to be a Pilates teacher. It's just another language of movement, in my [00:04:00] opinion. 

Do you want to create your own schedule is another thing that you may want to consider, because if you're going to be a Pilates teacher- full-time for sure, but maybe even part-time- you're very likely to be teaching odd hours or teaching at multiple studios.

And so if you like being able to potentially create a really flexible schedule, and if you're working one-on-one it can be even more flexible than group classes. But if that sounds appealing, you may enjoy the potential independent contractor aspect of teaching Pilates. 

Do you want to help people and specifically empower people through movement?

That's why I was teaching yoga. That's why at the time yoga was such a transformative practice in my personal life. That's why I became a yoga teacher. I wanted to share that and for Pilates as well, like it really is a powerful movement modality, and to be able to work with [00:05:00] people and encourage them to grow is just a really amazing thing. So if that speaks to you, that's amazing. 

Lastly, do you dislike wearing real pants because you will- it's almost funny. I think I own like three pairs of pants and probably 80 pairs of leggings or tights or whatever you call them. So if you enjoy wearing yoga pants, Pilates pants, great news. If you teach Pilates, you'll get to wear them a lot. So that's a little bit of a joke, but also a little bit of a reality. So that's another thing to have in mind. 

If you say yes to those questions, it doesn't mean that you need to sign up for teacher training, but it does show that you're a good candidate for it. But before you sign up for that teacher training program, here's a little bit more about what teaching Pilates really entails for your life.

Whether you are planning to teach Pilates full-time as your only thing, part-time in [00:06:00] addition to another part-time or full-time job, or even just occasionally a few hours a week, teacher training is a gigantic undertaking. It's at least a six month commitment, probably closer to a year of your life. Just signing up for the teacher training, let alone the being a teacher bit of it.

As I said, maybe this is a perk for you, but you will need to be, I'd say, fairly self-motivated. That you're going to need to be able to stay on top of your schedule at the studios, the gyms, the places that you're working. You'll need to be pretty meticulous if you're in business for yourself in terms of staying on top of your clients and their schedules and processing payment and billing, and do you need to start an LLC? There's just like a lot of behind the scenes stuff that could be going on as a  teacher as well.

And in terms of when you're teaching, if you think about when you go take classes, a lot of times it's like after work or on the weekends. Maybe before work. [00:07:00] Not if you're me, I'm definitely not a morning person. That's not to say I'm not awake, I just- I'm not teaching. 

In my experience, I've seen that the classes that are the most full and if you're getting paid per head in addition to your flat rate of classes, those full classes are going to be evenings and weekends.

And that's oftentimes when your loved ones are also available. So when I teach in the evenings, four evenings a week, you know, I miss dinner with my partner four days a week. And if I were to teach on weekends, you know, that's when they have off of work too. So that's just a thing to keep in mind. 

Can you teach during the day? A hundred percent you can, and you can create your schedule in a way that works for you. But that is something to keep in mind, that those are the busiest and most popular times and you may not be able to do other things at that time if you're choosing to teach. 

Another consideration is the teacher training is expensive, not only in terms of your time, but also in terms of actual money. It's just a really big commitment [00:08:00] to make. I'm not saying that you shouldn't make it, but just know going into it that this is not something you're going to be done with in a month. It's a lot of time, a lot of energy. There's a lot of studying and work that goes in outside of the required hours for the teacher training. 

But you also get to wear all of your super cool leggings and hang out a Pilates studios, which definitely we're already doing and get paid to do that. You'll get to do fun work that feels good in your body, feels good in your students' and your clients' bodies. You'll empower people to feel stronger and more capable and confident, and in a lot of ways, aid in their recovery from injuries or illnesses. Coming back to that full picture of wellness, you can definitely be a piece of that.

As a teacher, you'll always be learning every time you teach. In your continuing education classes, you're going to constantly be learning and adding more tools to your toolbox. You'll get [00:09:00] to work with people, which might be a pro or a con. I think it's pretty great. And you'll be able to move, which a lot of professions do not enable you to do. Like you'll be able to move pretty much all day long. That's a good time. 

If that sounds great. If that sounds good to you, and that's something that you're interested in exploring more of, stay tuned. Coming up after the break, I'm going to tell you more about what a teacher training program might look like. That's coming up next.

I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break, too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.

Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout-out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with [00:10:00] me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.

So what does a Pilates teacher training program look like? I do want to say this is based on my experience, this is based on some research I've done into the bigger Pilates schools. In addition to my experience with like a very small Pilates school, and then working at a studio that has its own Pilates teacher training program, but this is not the end all be all of  teacher training. Of course, ask questions of the program you're interested [00:11:00] in and do your research about the schools that appeal to you. 

I would say, just right off the bat, you do want to look for an accredited Pilates teacher training program, which means that it's comprehensive. It's going to be covering, not just mat and reformer, but also chair and tower and barrel and Cadillac.

I mean, I would recommend comprehensive just so that you have all the tools in your toolbox, that you just have everything that you could possibly know about the equipment in your back pocket that you can pull out, regardless of the studio you work at. 

I've found, you know, if you only do mat and reformer, and then you teach at a studio that also offers chair, and then, you know, you don't want to not feel prepared or not be eligible for that position by not having that as well. So I would say, look for that comprehensive program, that's going to introduce you to everything. That's going to be a minimum of 500 hours. I think my teacher [00:12:00] training was more like 600 hours in terms of, you know, additional hours that I had to put in. 

As I mentioned before, they can be really expensive. I would say less expensive ones might be maybe around $4,000 up to as much as $10,000 in US dollars, which is a lot of dollars. In addition to that you may also be paying for your textbooks or your course materials or additional classes or private sessions. A lot of teacher training programs ask that you take classes or privates with teachers from that studio as well. That all adds up. 

A lot of times teacher training programs are run in modules, where they're like weekend intensives. So you'll go into the studio for maybe six hours on Saturday, six hours on Sunday, or eight and eight, or even 10 and 10. And you'll be covering like one topic over the course of that weekend.

I want to say that [00:13:00] my teacher training did like an anatomy portion that we only did one day of a weekend. So I think that was six weekends, maybe or three weekends if we were doing it as a Saturday, Sunday, instead of just like a Saturday. And then, you know, mat certification was one weekend, basic equipment, like reformer was one weekend, then intermediate and then advanced. Those were their own weekends. And then we had a weekend that was like tower Cadillac, Ped-o-Pull, foot corrector, spine corrector, like all of the auxiliary equipment, or maybe that was like two separate weekends, something like that. So it's usually broken up into those weekends. You might be meeting once a month, or twice a month, for every weekend in a month. It really depends on the program. 

In addition to those in-person sessions, you're also going to be doing homework. There'll be written exams. There'll be practical exams periodically, not just that big, final, practical test out that you have to do. [00:14:00] In addition to that, you're also logging self-practice hours where you're taking classes and then writing your impressions and maybe, you know, teachers are signing off on those hours.

You're doing observation hours where you're going in and watching other teachers teach. You're doing practice teaching hours where you're practicing with either other people in the program or bringing in, we called them our Pilates body. That was like our practice body that we could come in and teach them the exercises as we were practicing teaching.

And you're doing all of that stuff on your own time, kind of between the modules. That is a lot. I would say doing it in six months is really fast. I definitely did mine in six months because I was ready to be paid to teach, for sure. But a lot of times it's going to look more like a year, especially if you are working while you are doing it.

I was not really super established in my yoga teaching. I was only teaching, you know, three or four hours a week. [00:15:00] And so I had plenty of time to study and do modules and stuff, but if you are not in your, you know, early to mid twenties, when you're doing it, you may be really established in your career. And this might be something that carving time out for is going to be like really intentional and something that you have to just really focus on to do. 

Some considerations about teacher training. Could you do your teacher training program just because you love Pilates and you want to learn more about it? Yeah, you could. It's expensive. It's a lot of money to do it just for fun. I mean, I don't know. That doesn't really resonate with me. Like this is definitely something that I need to do for more than just fun. It can be fun, but also please pay me. 

And then, full disclosure: I did not look at options for Pilates teacher training. I simply did my teacher training because the studio that I taught at was offering it at the time. And I didn't have to pay to [00:16:00] take classes because as an employee of the studio, I was able to last minute be in classes. Like I couldn't pre-register, but I could take classes at the studio for free. Because if you're paying for the 80 to a hundred hours of self practice that you have to do, that's a lot. So that's why I did the teacher training where I did it. And honestly, I didn't know about other teacher training options. 

And then in addition to paying for, you know, the tuition and the course materials for teacher training, you're then paying for the classes that you have to take for your self-practice. And then in my program for the first hundred hours of practice teaching, I wasn't paid to teach them. And some of them were practice hours with my practice body, but some of them were also, I had classes on the schedule, practicing teaching group classes that I was also, you know, I was an apprentice, so it wasn't being paid for it. Again, that's why I did it so quickly. 

Another thing to keep in mind is [00:17:00] some studios or gyms I know will have you do like a non-compete for your teacher training. And so the only practice hours, practice teaching hours, and then observation hours that you do, they all have to be from the studio or gym that certifying you.

I'm not a huge fan of that, because I think, especially in your teacher training, you should be exposed to lots of different teaching styles and lots of different ways of approaching Pilates and classes and group classes and private classes and all of that. So that's something that I would like personally, like not vibe with.

And you may want to check how the studio that you're looking at, their teacher training program, how they approach you taking classes at other studios. I don't like non-competes so that would be like a no-no for me. 

I will say that Breathe Education is a really cool Pilates school in Australia, but I think they're offering teacher trainings online right now. They do have like a cool [00:18:00] teacher training guide and things that they recommend, so I've linked in the description to them. And I have no affiliation with Breathe Education, but I do like the way they approach movement and Pilates. So that might be worth checking out. 

But wherever you're doing your teacher training or wherever you're looking at doing your teacher training, you know, whether it's through Club Pilates or Basi or Balanced Body or Peak or Fletcher, Stott, Power Pilates, any of these places. The Pilates itself, like what you're learning is largely the same. So definitely go with a program that their attitude matches you, the way they approach Pilates matches you. Like there's a lot of interpretations of Pilates and no interpretation in my opinion is more valid than another interpretation. 

I lean towards more inclusive, more accessible means of movement, but, you know, look at the teachers that you like taking their classes, [00:19:00] like where did they learn or what teachers really inspire them? Those are all great places to start. 

I would also say don't discount small studios. I did my teacher training at Chaturanga Holistic Fitness in Hyde Park. My teacher training had eight people in it. We knew each other. We knew the people we were learning from. We had great relationships, not only with the person leading the teacher training, Marylee, but also the other teachers at the studio were very happy to answer our questions, let us observe their classes, stuff like that. 

And also a lot of trainings are virtual right now. And you may also be virtual, especially if you're like already a movement teacher. So check out those small studios. I know Tab Pilates is on the South side in Chicago as well, they're doing a virtual mat training right now. So like really cool stuff happening virtually. 

My final two cents that I want to throw in. If you're really interested in becoming a teacher and joining a teacher training program, I would say: [00:20:00] buy Return to Life, Joseph Pilates' Return to Life through Contrology book, and read it. It's not that long. It's very short. If Joseph Pilates' philosophy really speaks to you- and I talked about this a little bit over at Pilates Students' Manual this week, talking about what Joe, in my opinion gets right and wrong when it comes to his philosophy- but if his philosophy really speaks to you, if the exercises really connect with you, reach out to your home studio, to nearby studios, see what their teacher training program entails, what the cost is, what the timing requirement is. 

And then ask a lot of questions because you're making a huge investment in yourself and in your future by doing this teacher training, and you want to make sure that you know what you're getting into and that you like what you're getting into hopefully. 

Feel free to ask me questions as well over at @pilatesteachersmanual on Instagram, or send me an email. I don't have all the answers, but I will happily share my [00:21:00] perspective. 

Any of the interviews that I've done on the podcast where I've talked to other Pilates teachers, I've always asked them, you know, what advice they would give, you know, a new Pilates teacher, and you can check out those interviews, see what those teachers have to say, what their journey to being a teacher was as well. And I wish you all the best on your adventure. 

Thank you so much, Emily, for your question. And thank you to all my supporters on Buy Me a Coffee for supporting the show. Your contributions and your words of encouragement are the greatest. Thank you for your support. I hope you have a great week, everyone, and I'll talk to you again soon.

Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at [00:22:00] @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

The adventure continues. Until next time.



Welcome
Do you want to teach Pilates?
Pros and Cons to Teaching Pilates
What Teacher Training Looks Like
Upfront and Hidden Teacher Training Costs
Explore Your Options
Read Return to Life