I Swore I’d Never Teach Again


That’s a big deal to me—to swear I’ll never do something again. It’s also a very closed off way to approach and deal with whatever it was that made me decide to swear off the something—in this case, teaching.

Despite my vow to myself that I’d never teach again I’ve come to realize that teaching is one of my strengths. Since I swore off teaching at the end of 2010, I’ve since trained a co-worker how to do my job at my workplace. We also now have a new employee that is starting in our department. It’s looking like the co-worker I trained is going to train the new employee we have at work. It’s very exciting when you see that little piece of yourself and the knowledge that you imparted upon someone else be passed on as they teach the skill you taught them to someone else.

When I said I’d sworn off teaching what I really meant to say was that I’d sworn off teaching ballroom dancing ever again. I wasn’t quite so detailed in my description. I’m a really good, patient teacher. I’m also a really good ballroom dancer. Both fit me and they are both things I really miss. However, what I really miss about ballroom dance is the movement. And what I really miss about teaching ballroom dance is teaching movement to people. What I do not miss was the excess garbage of things I had to deal with as a professional ballroom dance teacher. I’ve never had a thick skin and mean comments about my weight, my makeup, my clothing, and my lack of money to commit to more ballroom gowns, and the constant competition between myself and the owner of the studio, became things I no longer wanted to deal with. These are things that go with teaching ballroom dancing. This dancesport is not about the quality of movement or quality of teaching. It’s about what you look like, how much money you have, and how little you weigh. I couldn’t deal with the pressure anymore because it was making me paranoid and getting through my thin skin, and was contributing to depression and constant anxiety to the point where I said, “I’m done and will never teach again.”

Nearly 4 years later, I found myself sitting on the wood floor of the yoga studio at which I’d been practicing hot yoga intensely for about the past 6 months. I was at a teacher training meeting. I was only there because I wanted to deepen my practice of the different poses or asanas. The teacher trainer told us that if we ever wanted to teach to do the teaching practicum of the course. There was an option to just audit the class and not get the teaching certificate. I figured I would go for the teaching certificate because if I was going to go I wanted to go the whole way. This time the teaching option would be on my terms. If I want to teach I can and if I don’t then I won’t but at least I’ll have the knowledge.

I went home on Friday night March 7, 2014 with assurance that I wouldn’t ever be pitted up against another teacher, I wouldn’t be criticized for my weight or my looks, and most importantly that I wouldn’t need a particularly thick skin. These were my biggest fears and I asked my teacher trainer Catherine about these fears and she assured me that none of them would come to fruition.

Since that Friday night I have had time to really think and I came to realize that I needed to not bring into teaching yoga what made teaching ballroom dance so hard for me. My fears were a typical residual effect of ballroom dance. Those are things that almost every teacher in the ballroom dance industry face and it was my choice to give them up. Oddly the things I was never criticized for were my skill as a dancer and as a teacher. No one ever told me that I was a bad teacher and no one ever criticized me for my dancing. In fact it was quite the opposite. Those were the two things that I always got complimented on. I just couldn’t look past that and all I chose to see and still see today are the negatives. Ballroom dancing is something I would love to get back into somehow. However the glamor addiction fallout of the sport sends me reeling.

Looking forward, I decided to do the teacher training for yoga. I like yoga a lot but it’s not something I’m naturally good at like I was with dance, which I had been in since childhood. I’ve practiced yoga on and off here and there since I was in college. Yoga has always presented me with a way to calm myself down since I tend to be a person that gets hyped up about everything and anything. I’m hoping that by learning to teach the postures that I will learn more about the spiritual side of yoga and the connection of mind and body.

Going forward in my journey in life I hope I never say that I swear off anything again. Swearing anything off is a closed-minded way to be in my eyes. I hope I can fall in love with yoga the way I did with dance. I’m hoping to enter a less competitive world where glamor and money are not the most important thing on the playing field. Irsquo;m hoping my teaching skills and new knowledge of the postures are what will shine through for me on my journey of learning more and more about yoga. Who knows, maybe it will be a healthy way for me to rebuild my love of dance that I set into flames 4 years ago. I hope that I can rebuild bridges and become a stronger person in the outcome.

On Saturday March 15, 2014 I start my journey. I will be posting regularly on here as on my blog as form of journal-keeping so my readers can grow with me.

Peace,
Sara

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