Friday, February 5, 2010

Pilates Teaching: what I think..

So, I have just completed my first day of Physical Mind Pilates training. It was fabulous, exhausting, and humbling all rolled into one short 10 hour day. And tomorrow we are going to do it all again. One of our assignments for tomorrow is to assess what we bring to the table, so to speak, in the pilates arena. What kind of teacher are we? and why? What do we like about it? etc.

So, if you can bear it, I'm going to do my rough draft thinking here.. (Oh, the abuse my blog readers have to face...)

I think the most valuable skill I bring to the pilates classroom is interpersonal skills. I like people. I remember the funny things people say or do. I remember their names, and their kids' names. I genuinely have fun with my "people" when I'm teaching.

I like George. George is 75 and loves to exercise, even though his wife won't come with him.
I like Margot. Margot has a lot of birds at her house, and her son has married an older woman.
I like Michelle. Michelle's daughter is Ursula. Michelle is runner and hangs out with her sister in law during Thanksgiving, since the men go hunting together.
I like Deanna. Deanna would rather have coffee and chat than exercise, but she comes to pilates anyway. Her husband is a Luthier--that means he can make a guitar from scratch.

Interpersonal skills are not enough to teach an exercise class, especially something as difficult as pilates. I have a basic understanding of body and form from my many years of dance training. I have a good understanding of proper form, and I can generally communicate what I do know, well.

Some times I feel that my basic understanding of the form of an exercise is improperly understood, therefore communicated incorrectly and not properly executed. I have a pretty technical mind in the vocabulary of body movements, but I still feel like I am a beginner in these areas. This, in a sense, has improved greatly since the onset of my teaching in 2007.

Probably my greatest weakness is my own ability to perform the exercises correctly. Although, I do find it encouraging that I can demonstrate a "rough copy" of what the exercise is to look like and through cueing and corrections, my students will out-perform me, almost every time. In this sense, I do not feel the students are getting short-changed by having me as a teacher.

And why do I teach pilates? In the very big picture of things, I believe God is behind this. He wants me to help people in this way. When God is in something, he provides the resources to do the job well. I had not planned to get more pilates training. I could only dream that the excellent teacher "Charlotte" that my friend Emily told me was "the best" would be here in Rockford offering training, AND that the Lord would provide the funds at just the right time for me to go.

In the very smaller, more practical aspect of things, I enjoy exercising/ doing pilates and teaching people things. I love leading a class. I'm in "my element" when I'm directing a group. Sometimes I tell jokes or stories during class. Let's just say that the speaking part is the easy part, OK? (except when I tell them they are weak and skinny... but that doesn't happen every day)
I like working with people who are new to exercise. It's really fun to see the progress in people. One of my students told me that the recommendations that I gave her during a mat class helped her so much that she was able to avoid back surgery. That was really wonderful!!

So, those are just some of the reasons/ thoughts about pilates teaching for me at this stage of my life..


Braley Mama said...

Those same skills make you a great blog friend too!
keep true to your calling mama!

Ruby said...

Go ahead, abuse us all you like. That is the best workout I have had in looong while!
I am also fascinated to learn what a luthier is. I love that about many knowledgable people to learn from!

Emily said...

I've gotta say, you must be an amazing teacher if you can't quite do the moves right but you can teach your students to. I can't fathom that, but I'm thinking you must be abe to explain it well.

I too was happy to learn what a Luthier was. It's like my word of the day now.

Organizing Mommy said...

All that and you are impressed about LUTHIER?? Good grief..

If someone in the class can do the move correctly, I ask them to demonstrate. There's a move called "the roll up" that I could not do if my life depended on it, but I can find someone who can do it..

Braley mama--which calling are you refering to?
being a mom, blogging or pilates teaching?

Can you see why my head hurts?

And you guys are my therapists..

sara said...

I always hated those interviews in which I was asked to explain a fault or a weakness of mine. It was so difficult to be honest and fair and still sell myself for the job.

I think you did a good job evaluating yourself. It's hard to do.

Anonymous said...

O.M.- Love the recap of the 1st day! You encapsulated who you are beautifully. i have taken 3 of your classes and know first hand of your strengths and encouragements. God is using you in His way in His time. Mom

Tiffany said...

Aw, this was fun to read! I bet you are a great teacher.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Great thoughts about your teaching. It's wonderful that you are able to understand yourself so well and that you've found a way to serve others that fits your personality so well.