Chances are at some point in your class-taking history, you’ve encountered an amazing teacher. You’ve been truly inspired. Perhaps, even blown away. But, how did (s)he do it?!
I’ve been thinking lately about *what* differentiates a good teacher from a great one. And, with the help of my friends from The Grinning Yogi’s Teacher Training program, I’ve come up with a few key elements.
1. Empathetic teaching voice
Be YOU, not a ‘yoga teacher’.
2. Sense of humor or levity/lightness
Hold a space where people can experience light and fun– life is already hard enough!
3. Not taking it personally
If one person in the room is NOT with you (i.e. giving you grumpy face/sass) don't take it personally; you are there to serve them, not the other way around.
People need to feel like they are seen and have a safe space for personal discovery. Great teachers maintain eye contact with their class, and are almost able to anticipate a student’s needs because they are plugged in and present.
5. Working with the energy of the class
Teach from different places/vantage points of the room and use breath! Great teachers use their energy to mirror / modify the energy of the class. Let your students lead the wave of a class; have a plan but be willing to *ditch* the plan in order to best accommodate your class.
Be willing to get in there and help students connect. Modifications, affirmations and general assistance are all a part of this!
7. Effective communication
Your voice, tone and clarity should support the energy of class. Great teachers are performers! If you want your class to get excited, you should lead the charge!
You do not have to be perfect (in fact, please don’t be!), but you should be kind, giving, and available. Leave your grumps at the door!
9. Be Seen
Not only do great teachers always see their classes, great teachers allow their students to learn from their own body and practice. Be willing to demo (when appropriate) and maintain a presence throughout the class.
You are not there to change someone or shame them about where they are. Great teachers know that the practice facilitates any changes necessary and understand that their role as instructors is to wholly accept their students where they are!
What are your thoughts about your favorite teachers? Share them below!