So I’ve been teaching around a year now. Time flies when you’re:
- having fun
- helping people
- sharing what you’re learning
- amazing yourself by how much you know (yes, I do this sometimes!)
Time also flies when you’re:
- beating yourself up about about how little you know
- asking yourself whether you have your s**t together enough to offer anything to others
- wondering how to (and whether to) adjust the bodies in front of you
- panicking about what comes next in the sequence and why everything seems to overrun/underrun massively no matter how much you prepare
- fretting that if you demonstrate your students will thinking you’re showing off and if you don’t they’ll think you can’t actually ‘do yoga’
and so on….
Just some quick, frivolous bullets because really I can’t put into words how my first steps into teaching feel and all the experiences the past year has brought. Highs and lows, of course. Overall it’s been a year of being gentle on myself over and over again (and then a bit more), reminding myself that teaching is a practice as much as anything else and that I just need to try, over and again. I’ve been taking care to reflect a little after each class but mostly just looking to learn and be as present as I can for my students the next time. Also listening carefully to anything my students say and any reactions I observe in class: I learn so much from them that helps me understand their needs. It’s hard to stand steady in my teaching and trust to what I’ve been taught and what I know, while also taking nothing for granted and keeping always alert to my own preconceptions and judgements and being able to change and adapt when it seems right. I’m trying to balance my humbling ignorance and lack of experience against the wealth of what I do know and what I can offer out.
Mostly at this point I simply feel very grateful to my students for sticking with me for a year. I told them so; I invited them to share a meal with me after class recently as a little thank you. It was quite lovely, spending time with them as ‘real people’, ‘serving them’ in a more literal way 🙂 It can be lonely at the front of the room. This time together seated around a table reminded me that I’m not actually alone. I just need to open my heart to my students. And I recalled something that popped out of my mouth during class: that we’re all in this s**t together (my rather inelegant explanation of duhkha) so we might as well help each other through — breathing together, moving together, joining in OM, resting side by side at the close of practice. We might all be in the s**t together, but we’re also all looking at the stars (as Oscar Wilde never said).
Maybe sometimes I should listen to my own teaching. Sometimes it’s quite good 🙂