The importance of being a lifelong student
I’ve been teaching pole since 2009. OMG, since 2009!!! I absolutely love what I do — seriously, who wouldn’t love a chance to meet and hang out with (literally!) the coolest women in your area while wearing tiny sparkly shorts and sky-high platforms where we do stuff like this?
I love teaching pole, but I also love being a pole student — and being a student makes me a better instructor. Sometimes that means attending workshops. Or getting together with my fellow instructors for a little pole play time. Maybe I come across a YouTube tutorial that provides a nugget.
Wherever the inspiration comes from, it is invaluable to me as an instructor. I’m not a natural dancer, nor am I a natural athlete. I have become, thanks to years of pole, extremely body-aware, which makes learning new moves relatively easy (except for the butt superman, a move that looks so very simple when Michelle Shimmy does it … [raises a defiant fist] … I’ll get you yet, butt superman!!!).
That awareness makes me a good instructor. But it also allows me to sometimes forget that being a student can be difficult. Learning new moves is daunting, confusing, and frustrating. Your instructor has done that move probably hundreds of times. He or she knows exactly how it feels, where the balance points are, how far apart the hands need to be. As the student, you have to take that person’s description of what your body needs to do, and translate it to your own body type, adjusting all the while for your own level of strength, body awareness, flexibility…. that’s no walk in the park.
So when I get a chance to learn rather than teach, I jump at it. And I learn far more from instructors who don’t necessarily get every move right away. My best teachers have been accessible: they have struggled with moves, worked and conditioned and practiced and tried and failed and tried again. They’re part coach, part cheerleader, part taskmaster, part instructor, and part student. Instructors–don’t be afraid to admit that you found a move difficult at first, or that it took you however long to develop your flow/style.
- Where do you look for instruction inspiration?
- Who was your best-ever instructor? What made him or her so special?