These days there is no shortage of teacher training programs to choose from.
They are becoming as popular as dairy allergies and to-go coffee.
I recently heard a rumor that half of the students in a Vancouver class are certified teachers and so far it doesn’t look like training is slowing down. With so many people embarking on their own teacher training experiences, I thought I’d put some questions out there I wish I’d asked before getting on the plane to my 30 day training in Nicaragua.
1) What’s the deal with meals?
This one is first for a reason. It was a big deal in my training. We had three meals a day, two plated and one buffet style (breakfast). After the first week folks were stuffing food from the buffet into napkins to store in their rooms (against order from the resort due to possible critters invasions) in an attempt to hold off starvation later in the day.
We had the option of purchasing additional food (smoothies, dessert, alcoholic drinks, etc.) which was good, yet each time I bought something outside the meal plan I was annoyed. I had spent a lot of money on this training (which supposedly included meals) and wasn’t looking for an additional $500 bill on food and drink.
If I knew I’d have the option to bolster my meals (at a cost) then I could have put some extra money aside for it. So be sure to get all the details ahead of time so you don’t have to go on hunger strike out of principle.
2) What kind of support is offered after the program ends?
I felt really lost when I came out of my training. “Fantastic training, now what!?”
Two things on this. First, most 200 hour programs are simply that. There is no follow-up, no ongoing support structure. Get clear on that and know where you stand before you sign up for your training.
Second, in retrospect I—at least partly—signed up for my 200 hour training with the intention of “finding myself.” I think this is somewhat the fault of what’s promised in these trainings.
Regardless, that’s a lot of pressure! When the training ended and the solutions I was looking for hadn’t revealed themselves, that feeling of being lost was compounded. Are you going into your training with the intention to fix / find solutions to everything else in your life?
Speaking from personal experience, I’d say that’s dangerous.
3) Who exactly is teaching the training?
We had a number of guest teachers come into our training. They were great and I learned a lot from each of them.
I also had no idea who they were before I met them, what they would be teaching, or what their background was.
If you are signing into a training for one teacher, make sure you get a clear sense of how much that teacher is actually involved. Also, find out if they be teaching you the things that you most want to learn from.
My teacher is a vinyasa goddess. Vinyasa is where I feel in love with her and that’s what I wanted to learn from her. I did. She also teaches yin, and the description in the training was to “learn to teach a kick-ass asana class.” Not normally how I’d describe a yin class, but it’s possible right?
Check out all your expectations and assumptions around your teachers and what they’ll be teaching you.
4) How many lovely people are in it with me?
I’ve heard of teacher trainings running with as few as four students to as many as 40. This one’s pretty straightforward. Less students equals more personal attention and hands-on learning for you. This is a good thing.
Just in case that wasn’t obvious.
5) What is the breakdown of the training (anatomy, teaching, spiritual, philosophical, etc.)?
Regulations for teacher trainings are pretty loose, which essentially means facilitators can run with whatever content they want. I know of a number of people that came out of their teacher training without having a clue as to how to teach a class. They did have an incredible personal growth and spiritually deep experience.
If that’s what you’re looking for, great.
My training covered very little with regards to spirituality and philosophy. That worked for me as I’d already explored that realm through other avenues. Some folks are open to whatever comes in their training, which I think is a great approach. However, if you’re clear on what skills and knowledge you want when you get out of your training, it’s best do some homework and make sure your program will focus on those aspects.
6) Is this program going to exorcise my internal demons?
No need to ask your teachers this one—it’s a question just for you.
Teacher training is intense, especially when you cram it into 30 consecutive days with the same people in the same place.
I had the gall to dismiss the good words of my teachers that warned us of this intensity and the offering of help when things got hard. I was sitting there thinking to myself, “mmm, yes, this is good stuff for everyone else. I’ve done so much personal growth and development over the last three years, it won’t be hard for me, I won’t need help.”
Ha! That couldn’t have been farther from the truth. There will be digging and discovering and processing and a lot of it won’t be pleasant. Know it, accept it, welcome it and know you’ll be a whole lot lighter when you’ve finished.
There you have it. Would my teacher training have been vastly improved if I’d asked these questions? Let’s be honest. I don’t know. I am hoping however, asking these questions will make your experience better and at a minimum, they ensure there is no need for a hunger strike.
Author: Christine Obee
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wiki Commons