The yoga industry seems quite resistant to regulation and as a result, the membership bodies don’t have quite as much influence as one would hope.
It’s changing though. We are registered with Yoga Alliance because we both qualified internationally, and we run our teacher trainings though them too. What I like is that they are responsive to the changing needs of their community, for example, they recently made it a condition of membership that yoga teachers not call themselves yoga therapists, a decision I wholeheartedly agree with (read more on that here if you are interested).
They ALSO encourage teacher training schools to ask for honest feedback from their graduates when they register with the Alliance. I wholeheartedly agree with this too.
Teaching, you see, isn’t an act of perfection. It’s a learning process.
If you get five out of five, while it’s flattering, it’s also probably not truthful.
And it’s DEFINITELY not useful. One of the things we encourage very strongly in our business, with all our students, teacher trainees or not, is constructive feedback.
That way, people feel heard and we can improve on weak areas.
If someone tells me they didn’t understand an instruction I gave, GREAT! Then I know, and I can work on making it clearer.
If a teacher trainee gives me feedback on things they found frustrating in the course?
Excellent, means the next round will be better.
For example, in our first year of running the training I didn’t provide people with a year overview and all their notes upfront. One of the trainees gave me feedback at the end of the course that he’d found that really challenging and I am so glad he did because now we give a homework page and all the notes upfront.
Turns out people really like that, it helps them get their heads round what’s expected of them.
I wouldn’t have figured it out as quickly if I hadn’t been lucky enough to get good constructive criticism.
It makes me think of this lovely chant that sets the tone between teacher and student:
Which, translated, means:
Om. May we (teacher and student) be protected together. May we be nourished together.
May we both work with strength together.
May our study have brilliance.
May we not be antagonistic towards one another. Om. Peace. Peace. Peace.
To me, that’s the essence of good teaching: learning from your students as much as they learn from you.