There are different ways to train to become a Pilates teacher and frankly, I don’t feel that WHERE you trained is key to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Shocking, right?
It’s a bit like the conversation about which university you’ve attended – once you’re out there working, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t!) matter where you’ve studied; what you actually deliver on a day-to-day basis is what will build your reputation.
It’s the same for a Pilates teacher. Wherever you have trained, once you are in that class room, your students don’t really care about your CV. They care about how you engage with them, the flow of the class, if the difficulty of the exercises is in line with their ability and most of all, if you can help them to master Pilates moves, making the process accessible rather than daunting.
Pilates teaching skills
Becoming a teacher happens in the class room after you have your diploma and when you’re out in the real world, dealing with real people. It’s incredibly daunting at first and I’m sure I’m not alone to admit that my first few classes weren’t great to say the least. Before I did my Pilates certification, I was already teaching other classes in local gyms such as Legs, Bums & Tums classes and Spinning. That was my introduction to teaching and I was petrified at first, but I loved it too… I just needed to find my own style and my own confidence, which then helped me to deliver better classes. So, when I started teaching Pilates, I had already found my teaching style and mojo… it made it easier, but it still was searching at first which exercises and teaching cues worked in the class room and which didn’t.
Strive to be better
In my opinion, what makes a great teacher is the constant drive to deliver better classes… better than last year, better than last week… always striving to keep up with the progress of your students, finetuning their technique and making sure they stay challenged along the way, without of course injuring themselves (especially those with back issues). You have to love the subject that you teach… it’s the love that will transpire and that your students will come back for. So, being geeky and spending hours and hours with your head in Pilates and anatomy books and of course, also on YouTube, is an advantage – use this knowledge to spice up your classes. Students really respond well to knowing you truly love what you do. Also, letting go of your ego and attending other teachers’ classes can be a source of inspiration, especially if you find a teacher that has maybe a different style or technique so that you can learn and implement.
And add a sprinkle of laughter
And then there is humour. Honestly, it doesn’t need to be serious. It can be intimidating for people to enter a Pilates class room and as a teacher, I feel we should do whatever we can to break the ice. Telling anecdotes or jokes, remembering names and having personal conversations is important. It’s something you don’t learn whilst studying, but it’s one of those things that creates a relaxed atmosphere that is welcoming and inclusive. Basically, be the teacher you would like to be taught by.
I’m still striving to be that person… it’s a journey that never ends!