A Word On Really Great Teachers


July 14, 2012 by rapoulson

I guess you could say I’ve been thinking about pedagogy lately. In the past year, I’ve had several friends who’ve completed Yoga Teacher Training and I’ve gotten to experience a lot of different teaching styles during my great NYC Grouponing Adventure.

It used to be, I thought you were a great teacher if you made me want to fall down or cry (this is the opposite of what makes a really great kindergarten teacher).

Not only did someone allow this poor kid to bite the curb this spectacularly, but they videotaped it and put it on the Internet. Kid, sometimes grown-ups suck.

I’ve chilled out a little bit since and I’ve learned to enjoy and learn from a wide variety practices. I’m most mentally challenged by the eagle-eyed alignment afficianados. But you want to do some hot sweaty flow? I’m totally into that. Crazy abs and arms? I might hang in child’s pose a minute, but I’ll be glad I did it tomorrow. Origami bendy shit? Bring it. That is my wheelhouse.

It’s true that experience goes a long way towards creating great teachers. I’ve had the occasional opportunity to study with “big name” people, and you know what? Having to show up to class early has generally been worth it.

My Spanish teacher showed “Stand and Deliver” more times than was probably responsible.

Great student-teacher relationships can also be cultivated over time. My regular Wed/Fri class is my favorite part of the week.

But you know what the single easiest thing you can do to become a great yoga teacher is? Invest in your students. Ask me my name, if I’m tight, if I have any injuries. These sort of things should be basic, but often go neglected, especially in drop-in “gym yoga” settings. My Wed/Fri teacher is my regular teacher because every class she does those things and goes further. You can tell that she’s excited about getting to know every new student and his or her practice. It sounds weird, but we’re like puzzles to her, and that is what keeps me coming back.

Guys, everything would be more awesome if we were all a little more like Sister Mary Clarence.


2 thoughts on “A Word On Really Great Teachers

  1. lizforaday says:

    I think some teachs just get on the hamster wheel of teaching as a job and not a passion. They just don’t care. What they don’t relize, just as you said, that if they put a little more attention into the needs of the students they can reap more satisfaction.

  2. Hemarie says:

    I love this! So true… I want my yoga instructor to know my name. Mainly because when they correct my posture they can say my name and I’m clear they’re talking to me… and not my neighbor. Ha!

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