Did you September is National Yoga Awareness Month?
Personally…as a yoga teacher I like to think every month as Yoga Awareness Month, but hey—maybe I am just a little bit biased.
In light of National Yoga Awareness Month, BlueSky Fitness and myself, have teamed up to offer onsite Yoga classes to K-12 teachers and staff members of the Austin Independent School District. Kicking off the new school year off right!
This wonderful gift to teach yoga to teachers has brought me so much joy. I can finally share the gift of knowledge and pay it forward. I’ve always admired my teachers growing up–shout out to my mama who is a Spanish + English teacher in Chicago! (cheerin’ some manzanilla tea to you). Not going to lie though, I had my favorite teachers growing up (Mr. K in Algebra*cough***cough* not so much). A lot of them have inspired and helped shaped my way of thinking.
Now, as a yoga teacher myself I appreciate them now more than ever! Recently, with the opportunity to teach at the AISD, this experience has made me look at my own teaching style and reflect on what qualities make for a great teacher.
A lot of this may resonate with you whether you’re a teacher, yoga instructor, VP, coach, trainer, CEO, or leader in your workplace, so please read on and take what rings true for you! I’ve asked around and this is what I’ve gathered from my students (teachers).
The top six qualities that make for a great teacher:
1) Engaging personality. In a room full of students, it’s necessary to grab the attention of the students and keep them fully engaged throughout the length of class. I read in a recent study that the digital age has caused our attention span to average out at about eight seconds, down from 12, which is shorter than the attention span of a goldfish (theirs is nine). I can’t even fathom what that is for kids, four, two, .01?!? As teachers, you really have to step up your game to offer learning material that is fun, new, and engaging enough to hold the students’ attention.
2) Passion. Teachers are passionate about their students and teaching their subject matter. They get psyched about influencing their students and know the impact they have on their lives.
3) Patience. A teacher may have to repeat, repeat, repeat, content many times over. Or explain a subject a 100 different ways before a student finally “gets it” which requires a lot of patience (aka: meditation +pranayama breathing, but I’ll get to that at another post).
4) Organization. Personally, this is my weak spot. As I write this, I have books, yoga magazines, mail, and papers scattered all over the dining room table like confetti. But I understand it’s an important trait for teachers to have. I am always amazed at teachers who have everything organized. It’s truly magical. They seem to know all their students names. Class starts and ends on-time. Their teaching flow seems to sync up so perfectly with their words. And the students know what to expect…and yet somehow they still manage to make class fun and spontaneous. I can only wonder how much better of an instructor I’d be if the structure of everything I did was just a tad bit more organized.
5) Humility. They check their ego at the door. They essentially know that it’s not about them. It’s about their students and understand that the purpose of the class is NOT to demonstrate ALL the knowledge they know and prove how smart they are. It’s to lead and support their students through a learning experience that is suitable for everyone; therefore, so that as many students can understand. Humble teachers share what they know openly and will even laugh at themselves when they mess up.
6) Approachable. Often a student may not get a lesson right away. Or may be too timid to raise their hand in class (this was pretty much me from pre-K, right up until my senior year in college). When students feel comfortable approaching a teacher, they are more likely to go up to them later and ask for clarification. Inclusive teachers are friendly, open and approachable to students who may need support in understanding what is required of them. Teachers who are available, open, and friendly create a safe and trusting learning environment.
What qualities do you think make for a great teacher? How do you share and spread what you learn on the regular? Would love to hear from you. Please share with comments!
Love and light,