I am a teacher, first and foremost this is what I want to do. I love teaching, I love helping others. Everything I learn, everything I experience, I use to reflect on and analyse in a way that will help others and can inspire learning.
As a teacher, it is not really about me, what I can do, what I have achieved, it is about you, the student, the individual who wants to learn.
This week I have been reflecting on this a lot! I received a lovely email from Sibylle Dallmann, discussing the concepts of focusing on your students as a teacher- 'The key to a fun and enjoyable teaching career is to make it all about your students.'
I have been teaching for almost 10 years now and I couldn't agree with these sentiments more. I have taught in school environments teaching teenagers and now teaching all ages and genders and amazing individuals as a Yoga and Pilates teacher. Through all of my experiences similarities which I see arise remain the same.
Teachers can often feel burnt out, feel uninspired, lose sight or track of why they wanted to teach in the beginning- I have been there! However, if the focus of helping others remains your constant, remains your anchor point for grounding, centring and aligning to your values, then burning out will not feel as predominant.
I came through a fun university degree but at times highly competitive. I often reflected on my times and experiences in University and found a lot of focus was placed on performance and achievements. The focus often strayed to what we in the class could do, or have done rather than on educating others.
In training to be a teacher, however, the skills to teach, to help others learn, to encourage, to motivate, to allow individuals to complete tasks they didn't think possible-are very different skills than completing or succeeding at the task for oneself.
I do not doubt that accomplished athletes can make amazing teachers and coaches, but the skills required are learnt and developed over time and with experience, rather than just a given presumption that is granted to those who are successful in their fields.
In the Yoga 'world' I now work in, similarities can be seen and experienced. We are currently moving through an interesting internet and social media bubble-self promotion is constant, instant images, videos and posts are abundant. Pictures of wonderful poses in wonderful locations and seeing an array of links to the next person 'doing' the next new thing.
This can be amazing and inspiring but as a teacher, is the focus somewhat lost from the teaching?
As a teacher, there are a lot of things I cannot do! There are a lot of things I struggle with, but this I have actually learnt to embrace! As I struggle, so too do many people who come to my classes.
I love teaching and when I teach, it is not about me anymore, it is about you, the student. For any teachers, there may be an instant response or buzz from the next 'liked' image or post on the internet but by taking time to cultivate and embrace your own learning and values, and using them to enhance your teaching skill set, by spending time reflecting on how those in your classes are learning and developing, will in the longterm aid to create a much more sustainable and enjoyable teaching experience.