Many of the teachers I work with are education junkies. They get a rush from learning about the newest subject, research or tool that might help them enhance their clients’ movement programs. While a diverse education in the realm of movement provides an asset for the teacher, sometimes collecting continuing education courses can actually be a deterrent in the development of your teaching.
Now, before you run to grab your teaching resume to argue differently, I’d like you to consider this question: When was the last time you took everything you already knew and became curious about how you could apply that knowledge to your client’s sessions through a different lens? I’m serious. When was the last time you took inventory of your teaching tools and truly looked at the whole of their potential? In this week’s post, I invite you to do just this. My hope is, through the discoveries you’ll make within these exercises, you’ll gain confidence in what you already know and begin to make some educated choices towards your next continuing education endeavors. Let’s GO!
Today, I’m sharing the three most effective strategies that I use to build my confidence in the skills that I have available to me right now, and effectively see which educational pathways will serve me in the future.
This is one of my favorite exercises that can be applied to pretty much anything that you wish to gain perspective on. The purpose is to challenge yourself to see beyond what you know for sure, in an effort to discover the expanded perspective that waits for us when we become curious.
Step 1. Choose 1 – 3 exercises that you teach regularly in the majority of your sessions. Consider these to be your “greatest hits” or something you could teach with your eyes closed or hands tied behind your back.
Step 2. Get out some paper and a pen and set a Timer for 10 minutes.
Step 3. Challenge yourself to write as many questions as possible about the chosen exercise as if you are interviewing it. Questions can be basic or abstract.
EXERCISE: The Hundred
POTENTIAL QUESTIONS: What are you for? How long does it take to complete you? Who are you not good for? How can you be modified to meet the needs of someone who can’t pump their arms quickly? Are you needed in every session?
Through asking questions about the exercises you think you know everything about, you may discover new applications, audiences or perspectives that you didn’t know existed.
Understanding where an exercise was “born” from as well as what it can “grow up” to become can provide an amazing enhancement to the way you think about crafting a session. In this exercise, you’ll choose an exercise that you’d like offer midway throughout the session. It should be something that provides a physical challenge that is relevant to the client you are working with. For this go-round, you may choose yourself as the client.
Step One. Take out your notebook and turn 2 – 3 pages in. On the last line of the third page, write the name of the exercise you’ve chosen.
Step Two. On the line directly above the exercise in Step One, write what happened in the session just before the exercise.
Step Three. On the line directly above that, write what happened in the session before the line of Step Two.
Step Four. Repeat the process until you reach the beginning of the session.
Step Five. No go from the top line on the first page and move through what you’ve written to reach the exercise you chose. How did the process go? Did it work out as expected? What would you do differently? What would you keep?
BONUS. Now keep going and finish the session, using what you’ve determined to be a good progression to inform how you would craft the second half of your session.
This exercise can often provide evidence towards helping you understand your session-crafting skills as well as potentially identify some places where you need to work on filling in the gaps.
This is the place where you begin to get detailed about your pathway as a teacher and the next steps you might take. You can use a whiteboard, chalkboard or any large surface for writing. I love grabbing a brand new pad of Post-its and covering a blank wall with them. Regardless of the medium you choose, the purpose of this exercise is to look for common themes and points of interest that might lead you towards choosing your next endeavor.
Step One. On a piece of paper, write out a list of all of the educational courses you’ve taken. These can be Pilates or non-Pilates based offerings.
Step Two. Narrow the list down to the courses where you felt like you gained the most from attending. These can reference the subject matter you learned, the power of the teacher you worked with, the application to your clientele or a combination of the three.
Step Three. Once you’ve narrowed the list down, use any medium from above (whiteboard, post-its, etc) and make two columns. In the first column, you’ll have a list of the most valuable courses. In the second column, you’ll write the value you received from these courses and in the third column.
Step Four. Note any common themes from the courses you chose. Perhaps they all had something to do with anatomy. Perhaps they all took place in a large conference. No matter what the theme, see if you can find a through-line to the courses that had the most meaning from you.
Step Five. Once you’ve noted some common themes, begin to get curious about finding some continuing ed courses that may fit the criteria that you’ve deemed to be valuable in the past.
This exercise can help you be more mindful about where you spend your time and money and also provide a platform for deepening your education as opposed to just collecting courses.
I hope that these strategies provide you with some perspective and remind you that what you already know is quite valuable. Through acknowledging this value, playing with its applications and recognizing what you are really drawn to as a teacher, you can craft a pathway that continues to build on the foundation of everything you already know.
I’d love to hear about the discoveries you made through the above exericse. Drop me a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond this week!