Today we chat about doubts that new teachers may be experiencing as they begin teaching their own classes after teacher training. I know it can feel like you aren't ready to teach just yet, but there isn't one more training or workshop or conference that's going to make you feel ready. My advice is to start where you are and recognize that you will learn so much as you begin to teach. Tune in!
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[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. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the [00:01:00] podcast. Full disclosure. I have not exactly decided what I would like to call this episode, but the gist of it is when you're almost out of your teacher training program and you're feeling like you are going to be a fully fledged Pilates teacher in just about one second, but you feel like you don't know enough or that you're lacking some knowledge about maybe working with a certain population or maybe kind of fuzzy about how certain things are gonna work out in the studio. And you're just feeling kind of unsure of yourself.
[00:01:40] What can I tell you kind of about that situation? What advice do I have for you if that is the spot that you're in? So maybe a little bit of this is mindset, but also kind of some practical advice about what it's like working in the Pilates industry, what it can be like working in studios, what it can kind of be [00:02:00] like working for yourself, just really about getting started as a Pilates teacher.
[00:02:06] The biggest and most important thing I'm going to share with you is that it is okay to start where you are. Your teacher training program has taught you the Pilates exercises, ideally how to teach those exercises and you're able to do that. And you might immediately, as soon as I said that, be like, oh my gosh, no, I'm definitely not ready, but here's the thing. You are ready. You're ready to start. And that's kind of the beauty of teaching as that, it's this constantly evolving art that you're going to be engaging with over your entire career.
[00:02:46] And there's not a training that you need to do, or some continuing education course that you need to take, or, you know, some other workshop that you need to do in order to be ready to teach. You [00:03:00] are ready to teach. And if you need someone to give you permission to start where you are, I will give it to you. It is okay to start where you are and be a new Pilates teacher. As a matter of fact, it's amazing to do that.
[00:03:14] You are going to learn so much from teaching, whether you're teaching in any of the ways that I mentioned, or other ways, like teaching in a gym or teaching online or any of these things like you are going to learn so, so much just by doing the thing.
[00:03:31] Teaching Pilates, which is what your training program taught you to do, is more than just teaching the exercises. And I think that's a really big thing and no teacher training program or continuing education program can a hundred percent prepare you for all of the situations that you find yourself in as a teacher, and that's okay. Because this kind of on the job experience that you're going to gain [00:04:00] is invaluable and can't really be taught in a training program.
[00:04:04] Everything from, you know, juggling group classes and offering variations of exercises. Adding more advanced progressions and, you know, incorporating props and dealing with people's injuries and dealing with different personalities. All of this stuff might be addressed in your teacher training program, but it's going to be different when you're the person juggling all of those things.
[00:04:29] The Pilates industry is a service industry. So you've got clients who are coming to you and they have expectations about what they want and goals that they have. If you're working at a studio or a gym, or really any situation where someone is employing you, you're having to meet their standards and their expectations. And then you're bringing to the table your own set of expectations and you know, how you like to teach and what you like to teach and things like [00:05:00] that. And so it really is a balancing act. Working with people is just always working with people. There's never a dull moment. It's always a little bit different, right.
[00:05:11] And beyond the time that you're in the studio or the time that you are teaching your class, There's also, as you know, from this podcast so much that happens beyond the scenes when it comes to coordinating your schedule and, you know, traveling to, and from appointments or studios or preparing for classes, all of those things really factor into being a teacher. And you just learn as you go.
[00:05:40] I'm not saying you have to strike out blindly. I think there's really great resources, whether it's this podcast, whether it's other teachers at the studio or in your training program who are acting as mentors for you, there's definitely resources out there so that you don't feel alone.
[00:05:58] But I also want you to know [00:06:00] that it's okay to not have all the answers, not just about Pilates, but about being a Pilates teacher when you get started. I mean, I don't think I have all the answers to being a Pilates teacher and I've been doing it for a second. You've heard from other teachers on the podcast who have been guests who've been teaching for 10, 15, 20 years and are still learning. And I think that's the beauty of it is that you will keep learning throughout your career.
[00:06:28] Another thing I want to bring up is that you're going to get better. I think we forget about that, the same way our clients forget about that as they're progressing and growing in their own Pilates practice, but you're going to get better the more you do. The same way the first class that you practice taught in your teacher training program was kind of clunky and kind of messy and you mixed up your words and you had to stop and take a deep [00:07:00] breath, and you look at how you teach now and how much more confident you are and how much more you know. That's going to keep happening in every class you teach is really an opportunity to, I don't know if I want to say guinea pigs, but your clients really are a constant source of feedback in terms of what cues are landing or, you know, other things like what music is really vibing with you if you play music in your classes, or what jokes land, all of those things are also constantly happening in your class and it's going to be different every day.
[00:07:36] You will get better at reading the room and kind of noticing when people are struggling and, you know, giving them options, noticing when people want more, noticing what's really working or what isn't quite making sense. That's something that happens just through sheer repetition and practice and working with lots of different [00:08:00] people.
[00:08:01] You're never going to know everything and you're never going to have all the answers and you're never going to really be a perfect teacher because there's no such thing. So wherever you are as you're finishing your training program and feeling unsure, potentially, know that it's okay to start exactly where you are. And let that be your starting point, you know, and then we'll go from there. We'll keep working from there.
[00:08:31] Coming up after the break, I'm going to be talking a bit about continuing education or bridge programs or workshops, what to kind of look for, if that's something that you are looking for and kind of echoing things that you may have heard from other teachers on the podcast when they were giving advice. That's coming up next.
[00:08:59] Hi, there. I [00:09:00] 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.
[00:09:18] Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout-out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with 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.
[00:09:55] As we continue to think about things to keep in mind when you're just [00:10:00] getting started as a teacher, and maybe you're listening to this podcast and you are not getting started as a teacher. I am going to encourage you to share what advice you have for teachers who are in that very exciting, but kind of nerve wracking phase in their teaching career where they're really taking that first big leap. I also hope that you keep listening to see if, uh, what I'm sharing is definitely things that you would want new teachers to know as well.
[00:10:26] I do want to talk about continuing education and I want to share my experience with continuing education as a brand new teacher. And also let you know that this is very much my experience. You may have had a totally different experience, or you might be having a different experience and that is also valid. But let me tell you about what was going on for me.
[00:10:49] When I first got certified as a Pilates teacher, and then I took the national Pilates exam, I was in a very similar boat where I was like, oh [00:11:00] my gosh, I don't know anything. I just did all of this work and I still feel like I don't know anything. So I signed up to go to lots of conferences, to go to Pilates on Tour, to go to the PMA conference, to go to like every workshop that came to Chicago, I was there and I was taking furious notes, hoping that what I was learning in these conferences was going to fill the gaps that I felt that I had in my knowledge.
[00:11:33] I don't want to be too hard on myself because, you know, that was my kind of reflexive response that, you know, I don't know things. If I learn things, then I will be ready to teach or I'll be able to be a really great teacher. What happens is you kind of get an information overload and this is nothing against any of the conferences or workshops or anything that I took. But [00:12:00] I was just having more people tell me more ways to teach Pilates. And I wasn't really finding my way to teach Pilates.
[00:12:09] I was very much working from the idea that if I knew more than I would be better. That's kind of a double-edged sword, because if you're constantly viewing your expertise and the work that you've done as not enough, like you'll never be happy. Even if you attend every conference that has ever existed ever in the history of the world, you'll still feel like you're missing something. Like there's something that needs to change in the way you're thinking about the knowledge that you have.
[00:12:37] It can also just be really confusing and really overwhelming and make you feel less ready to teach, because then there's more things that you don't a hundred percent understand that you feel like you need to understand. There's just like a lot of internal pressure that you might be putting on yourself here.
[00:12:55] One of the great things about finishing your certification and starting to [00:13:00] teach, despite the doubts that you may have about yourself or your abilities or your knowledge is. You'll start to see how different clients have different expectations and different past experiences with Pilates. You'll start to see how the studios that you work at have, you know, their own framework for approaching Pilates and their Pilates business and that's its own thing. And the more places you work out, the more people you work with, you'll start to see how really having one approach at all isn't going to work and really using Pilates as a tool to help all of these people reach their highly individual goals is what's gonna work best.
[00:13:45] That Pilates is this tool that you have, and how it's going to meet different people is going to be different. That sort of navigating is a skill that you'll be able to refine and continue to [00:14:00] utilize throughout your career. The only time, I would say you don't necessarily have to do so much navigating as if you were to open your own studio, which if you want to do that, that's totally fine. But I think for the majority of us, we'll be working at studio. And then we're going to have to, you know, navigate whatever that studio sees as the focus or the goal or how they like to cue or, you know, any of those things. And it might be different from what you learned. It might be different from your opinion.
[00:14:32] And I also want to say, when you're just getting started, you've invested so much time and so much money, as Danica mentioned in the previous episode, like, you've got to pay your bills. You've got to recoup your costs of the training. So part of the practicality of this is that you get started so that you can really make this into your career, into your profession with real financial, monetary rewards, which you deserve. You are trained in this thing and you're offering [00:15:00] that service.
[00:15:01] Another reason I recommend teaching before diving headfirst into every single continuing education program ever. And this is, I feel like I need to qualify this because I think continuing education is amazing. But I also want to share that I'm really thankful to be going through this training program with Breathe Education right now, after having taught for several years, because now I have a much better perspective about how I fit in the Pilates landscape.
[00:15:35] And I can think a lot more about the applications of what I'm learning in real world scenarios. Not a knock against teacher training at all, but unless you have a frame of reference and you've taught people, a lot of the stuff you're just accepting as fact, but you're not really questioning it necessarily because, you know, it's the only thing that, you know, what [00:16:00] you're learning is the only thing you've learned about this thing. Right? So you're really accepting that you have nothing to hold it against or compare it to or think about too critically because you don't like, you just don't have that experience.
[00:16:13] So having this teaching experience and then going back, and even now, when I do continuing education workshops to address what I felt were gaps in my training, whether it was working with pre and postnatal clients, whether it's looking at motor learning theory and kind of concepts and principles beyond Pilates, just about exercise and movement in general, I can find so many more connections and really integrate what I'm learning in my continuing education, with what I know to be true, with what I've done in the past, with other things that I've learned through my teaching experience. And I think that that's really valuable as well.
[00:16:55] So if you're coming out of your teacher training and you're thinking I need to do more [00:17:00] training before I teach. And like, I can't discourage you from doing that. You're always welcome to do that, but also know that what you do while you're teaching is going to provide some valuable education to you. And then when you go and take those continuing education-
[00:17:17] Because like you have two years, if you chose to do the national exam, and you might not even choose to do the national exam, in which case no continuing education is required. But if you chose to take the national exam and you know that you need to do 16 units of continuing education in two years, you don't need to do it all in the first two months of being a certified teacher. You know, there's, there can be some time where you're kind of finding your footing. It can't really be rushed and it can't really be taught.
[00:17:46] Another note about continuing education that several teachers have brought up is this idea that you've learned Pilates in a lot of ways and so the most valuable [00:18:00] continuing education may not be a workshop about variations on the chair. If it's something where you're attending a day of classes and you want to learn chair exercises, that's totally fine, but what's really going to help you feel confident in what you're teaching is looking at those overarching principles: how the body works, how the body doesn't work, how the body moves, how the body reacts to change to the exercises, but kind of divorced from Pilates that it's, you're not learning more Pilates. You're learning more about the body and how that kind of functions. And you can apply that to what you know about Pilates.
[00:18:45] Because I know I've said this in the podcast before, but that there's a Pilates teacher for everyone, and everyone has their own style that connects with certain people and doesn't connect with other people. And that's totally fine cause there's lots of people in the world and it's a [00:19:00] beautiful tapestry of experience. So if what you continue to learn is just other people's way of teaching Pilates, but not really having some time to flesh out your own, you're really denying the world your personal unique take on Pilates and that is sad.
[00:19:19] Those are kind of my thoughts on when you're first getting started. Punch the voice that tells you, "you can't teach just yet," right in its face for me, because you can teach. You are ready to teach. Start where you are and get ready to grow because it's a learning experience. And also know that you've got resources, whether it's me and the podcast. You're always welcome to reach out. Whether it's other teachers at your studios or mentors or leaders in your training program, or just people you think are cool. I really encourage you to reach out and ask those questions so that you feel less alone, but also know that you got this. I'm cheering for you.
[00:19:58] Really big thank you to all of my [00:20:00] supporters on Buy Me A Coffee. This episode actually came out of a conversation that I had with a supporter, uh, one of our zoom coffee chats. So thank you so much, Linda, for inspiring me to think a little bit more about what it's like when you're coming right out of teacher training. I really appreciate it. Thank you all so much for tuning in, for your support on that Buy Me A Coffee page. I'll be back in just a couple of weeks. Talk to you again soon.
[00:20:33] 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 @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.
[00:20:56] The adventure continues. Until next time.[00:21:00]