Archives For November 2014

Who Is Your Teacher?

November 2, 2014 — 4 Comments

or The Trouble With Virtual,
or even I’m So Lucky

I really enjoy the opportunity to have dialogue with people that I have never met (and may never meet) that Facebook affords. The streamed classes that services like Pilates on Demand, Pilates Anytime and Pilatesology are a fantastic resource for students and teachers alike, too.

I’ve also read what both Frank Forencich and Mark Sisson have to say about the kind of social groupings that we have evolved to flourish within. I’m sure they are just two of many people commenting on the very novel (and who knows how ‘harmful’) phenomenon of superficial connection with hundreds, even thousands of people, rather than a ‘tribe’ of maybe 20-30 with whom we have a face to face and more intimate connection. Still, if you are able to have both then there are many potential advantages to a broad scope of opinion and experience that something like a Facebook group can offer.

The reason that I consider myself to be very lucky is that I live with one of the best teachers that I’ve ever encountered, with both a broader movement background, and many more years of practice than me. In other words, I always have a teacher on hand – someone who will give me feedback about both my own practice and my teaching, and whom I can go to for advice.

One of the drawbacks of the kind of qualification (in the UK) that will sanction someone to teach Pilates in health clubs and local authority facilities is that it can be gained without having a teacher yourself. I have met a teacher with this qualification who had never been to a Pilates class – all her own practice had been done following a DVD or online class. I imagine this will seem utterly bizarre to the majority of teachers reading this, and yet I suspect that, once qualified, it’s not so hard to get into a similar situation. Classes cost money, and take up time that you could be using to earn money – it’s an easy trap to fall into. Would anyone disagree that we all need a teacher (or teachers)? That there is any substitute for having someone in the room with you, watching you move, using the x-Ray vision that Pilates teachers (perhaps all teachers of movement) seem to develop? In fact, isn’t it essential to have a ‘live’, present teacher in order to develop those kind of skills?

Again, it’s an amazing resource, to be able to post a question in an international forum on Facebook, and to get feedback from teachers around the world with hundreds of years of experience between them. Truly this is one of the great benefits of the Internet. Then, sometimes, a question appears that makes me think ‘this is a question for your teacher’, hinting at the possibility that this person doesn’t have a teacher. If I wasn’t married to a teacher this might be me, and in writing this I’m reminded that I could be spreading my own net wider. Will I be more successful as a teacher if I don’t develop? Will I really develop as a teacher, if I don’t have one myself? So having a teacher isn’t expensive, it’s an essential investment.

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