By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500
What criteria is a teacher trainer looking for in a practical exam for Hatha Yoga teacher interns? Each school looks at the value of the following teaching aspects differently, but the requirements for quality teaching standards are fairly consistent.
Q: What you are looking for during the class? I see from the Yoga teacher training course instructions that the class must consist of pranayama, asanas, and meditation or guided relaxation. The class should also contain cueing and modifications. Do you have any other list of criteria that you use as you grade the practical exam?
A: Yes – observation skills, compassion, demonstration skills, and knowledge of one’s lesson plan are all taken into account. Beyond cueing and modifications, we observe, and mark, practical exams, with the following points in mind.
Does the teacher give a blanket warning for Prenatal and high blood pressure (HBP) at the beginning of class? Realizing that students have a right to privacy, we do not need to question our students in public. Health questions should be addressed in the student questionnaire, or during the initial visit. However, pregnant students should be attending a specialized prenatal Yoga class with a specialist instructor.
Does the instructor make eye contact with students? Yoga classes are for students. As teachers, we are devoted to the safety of our students. Observation is a key element in every class.
When a student needs help – is the instructor making assists or giving modifications? Some students need extra help, and it is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure each student is practicing safely.
Does the Yoga instructor “walk the room” at times when students most need help?
Does the teacher know his or her lesson plan without using notes? Please! Hide the notes. If you must – Refer to them before, but never during, a class. As you teach more Yoga classes, the notes will disappear.
Does the Yoga instructor show compassion, when students need help? There are a few Yoga teachers who have extremely limited compassion. In such cases, students should have the common sense to leave their classes. If a Yoga teacher training intern is rude, arrogant, or verbally abusive, why would he or she be granted permission to teach?
Is the class (approximately) starting and finishing on time? Never forget – students have schedules, too.
Does the class include an opening (beginning), warm-ups, a middle, and a closing? There is no need to skip the opening or closing of a class.
If you answered, “yes,” to all the above-mentioned points, you are teaching Yoga classes at a safe standard. Some of these points may seem comical, but Yoga teacher trainers have seen just about everything.
© Copyright 2010 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
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