Training the teacher...
I had an absolutely fab day at Cobham Pilates on Sunday. It was for their Teacher Inspiration Day, which is an opportunity for teachers to train together. Lead by three of their team, including one of the educators for Body Control Pilates, it was a day full of Matwork-based classes aimed at giving our own bodies the treat of taking a class, but also to give us ideas and share experiences as Pilates Instructors.
As I went through the day the first thing I thought was 'blimey, this is jolly hard work' - it's not often you would take that many Pilates classes in one day! The other thing I kept reflecting on as I went through the day was just being in the company of other instructors and how much I gained from that - and therefore how much the studio and our clients benefit from such training sessions and just simply being around each other in the studio setting.
For those that don't already know, Pilates takes an age to train to teach (if you go with a reputable training institution that is!). Whether it be Stott Pilates, Body Control, APPI, Pilates Foundation, BASI or Polestar (amongst others), it is likely your instructor has shed blood, sweat and tears to get to the point where they are let loose on clients. The level of Anatomy and Physiology that instructors are expected to learn and have an applied knowledge of is arguably second to none in the fitness and wellbeing industry. The fact that we deal with everyone from the very broken to the international athlete means we need a deep understanding of what to do with each individual. That skill and knowledge doesn't just appear magically, it requires even more work and practise once qualified - and we then need to factor that in to the class setting where you may have 8 different injuries on 8 different bodies and need to deliver a safe but challenging session for each and every one!
Once we start teaching, it is then down to us to continue developing and growing our knowledge. A committed instructor will not only have to do their 'Continuing Education Credits' to complete in line with who they initially trained with, but they will want to keep up with current research, how that applies to how they teach and also explore other ways of approaching Pilates. That's where not only events such as the Teacher Inspiration Day come in to play, but also the question of the environment within which they teach.
Sunday at Cobham Pilates wasn't just about doing a Body Control Pilates course despite those leading the day being affiliated to BCP. There were instructors from different training backgrounds (I for one am Stott Pilates trained), so what brought us together was this passion for Pilates, our interest in doing something new, connecting with other instructors, watching others' bodies handling different movements and feeling those moves in our own bodies with a different voice teaching them, so that we may deeper understand the method in order to apply it to our clients.
It also completely supported my belief of how beneficial it can be to be part of a studio, whether that be as an instructor or a client. Having that pool of knowledge instantly available is something that I love about Guildford Pilates Place and something I loved feeling at Cobham Pilates too.
This readily available opportunity to pick each others' brains, go to each others' classes, try things out and draw on what we all individually bring to the mat (or Reformer) is what makes studio Pilates unique. It's almost like we have that next training course at our fingertips, all the time, in the form of our teams of instructors. This of course is how we then ensure we deliver the best for all our clients - keeping them safe, making them strong and helping them to achieve their goals, whatever they may be.
A tribe of instructors is a powerful thing....!