What makes a teacher (training) great?

“The teacher longs for great students. Only then can he/she know if they have greatness to share.” 

Last year I taught a workshop for recent teacher training grads called, “The Soul of the Teacher.”   The two hour course was part Q and A, and mostly a place for new teachers to sit, relax and be listened to. After a several long weekends of being talked to, told how, directed and lectured to —all I wanted to do was create a space to hear them. 

We sat in a circle and they shared their hopes and their apprehensions about teaching Yoga. I asked them to reflect on the best teachers throughout their lives. They spoke about elementary school teachers, a high school science teacher, a college art professor, a poetry teacher and of course some of their most influential yoga instructors. They described memories that influenced a lot of their respective career paths, artistic pursuits, and much of their sense of self worth — Many of these memories told the story of why they felt called to teach yoga now.

Next to me was a stack of my favorite teaching books. I picked up one that had been introduced to me when I was a school teacher over twenty years ago. It was Parker Palmer’s, The Courage To Teach. I posed a question inspired from one of Parker Palmer’s reflections,  “What are the gifts that teachers awakened within you?” 

At first they lapsed into sharing about a particular teacher’s strengths. It’s so easy to side step away from naming our own attributes. But then they caught themselves and with certitude, shared: “Perseverance.” “Creativity.” “Confidence.” “Trusting myself.”

The list went on. The space shifted as they filled it with words that made them smile, and made them remember who they were at their absolute core.

Some of my favorite teachers were ones who remembered my name after the first day of class. Other’s rekindled passions I had neglected for years. All of my greatest teachers helped me see my value and as I cherished their generous knowledge and filled notebooks with their finest words, it was their presence that to this day I still feel and call upon.

On October 17th, I will offer a brand new kind of Yoga Teacher Training in Chicago. Mostly, we come to this training to listen and to keep listening. These past weeks (and months, and years) I have watched my husband and partner draft the third and fourth editions of our ever expanding manual — an expansion that reflects our own.

In all truth, all forms of trainings are great. Any time I set time aside to learn about something I love, I am nourished. Once I became a teacher, I never stopped learning. Once I found yoga, I never stopped learning and I am excited to know the great humans that hear this same calling and to sit in a circle and attempt to articulate how we can keep the legacy of great teaching  living on. 

To learn more about “The Training” visit: https://advancedyogatt.com/the-trainings/

Tracy Bleier