Almost a decade ago, I had a Pilates teacher training program for a couple years. There were a dozen or more students that went through one of the most rigorous year long Pilates programs there were. The students not only had to know, understand and be able to teach the complete classical repertoire (except maybe the Flying Squirrel on the Cadillac) but they had also to perform the level 5 reformer workout with some degree of proficiency. All of them. And they did it.
While I have lost touch with some of them, I think most of them are still teaching today. Many of gone on to other modalities and other trainings. Some of them have minimized or even stopped mentioning where they got their training (sadly enough). I was proud of their ability to learn this massive amount of information and to synthesize it into their own Pilates understanding. I think they received a wonderful Pilates education.
Now thousands of training hours later, (50 hours/week x 50 weeks x 10 years – you do the math), I am ready to resurrect this program. I have to put all the information, curriculum, sample tests, etc. together to be licensed by the state. But I have a clearer vision of what I want to teach. I want to teach students how to teach like I teach: to see what I see, understand the body the way I understand the body, have the same set of guiding principles that I have when teaching. Maybe that sounds arrogant. But I believe so strongly in how and what I teach that I think it is the way every teacher should teach whether they teach Pilates, or general fitness or yoga or Crossfit.
What do I have that I think is unique? I think I can see movement and quickly understand how it should be done for functional movement. For example, I’ve taken an occasional ballet barre class and was immediately creating a checklist of correct alignment, range of motion, speed of movement and even whether the exercise was worthwhile or not (usually it was). I’ve been so surprised on how rarely a teacher would say the things that, in my mind, are completely obvious and should be said in order to get the most of the exercise and to make sure it is done correctly.
My new teacher training program will still teach the classic repertoire on all of the equipment and expect some degree of proficiency. But it will also embrace any amount of new ‘choreography’ that has a rational and an understanding of effectiveness and bio-mechanics. That is how our studio has exercise using blankets: the shoulder blade drags (moving planks), hamstring curls, etc or bands or breadboards or other traditional equipment. It is not the exercise but how it is taught and executed.
I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to teach others to see the way I see because sometimes, I am not even sure how it is that I am seeing what I am seeing as a client performs an exercise. But they almost always say I am correct. It will also be exciting to be challenged by these new teachers as they bring their own set of eyes to teaching Pilates and movement.
It should be an exciting year.