The 10 Commandments of a Pole Instructor

A while ago I posted a blog entry on the “10 commandments of a student.” Well… this week, I’m bringing up something that I think is equally important. As a teacher, I’m guilty of forgetting to do a lot of these things. What would you add, or change?

The 10 Commandments of a Pole Instructor:

  1. I will take time for myself. If that means rolling around in a dark studio for an hour, or spending a night at home doing nothing, or cherishing my friendships. Because I know that my stores of energy to give are not limitless, and I know that I need to take every once in a while.
  2. I will teach because I love to, and I am inspired by my students and by the learning and growth that I see in them. And if that changes, I will do what is necessary to maintain a positive and healthy perspective on my role as a teacher. If that is taking time off, or no longer teaching, I will seriously consider my options.
  3. I have bad days. Everyone has bad days. But I know that my students look forward to class with me, have validated me by continuing to spend their time and money and energy with me, and I will do my utmost to be the best instructor I can be, every time I teach.
  4. I will understand that I don’t have to be perfect. I am allowed to learn. I can fail. I have to be willing to try, even if it doesn’t look perfect the first time. I would expect nothing less from my students.
  5. I will not pressure myself to be better, or stronger, than any one else, whether that person is a student or another instructor. I will not allow myself to be defined by what I am or am not capable of, but only the clarity and strength of my instruction. I don’t have to be the best dancer or trickster to be a fantastic teacher, and one is not better or more worthy of respect than the other.
  6. I will do everything in my power to make sure that I am in a positive studio environment. I owe it to myself to work with an owner or manager who cares—about me, about students, and about pole as a whole. And if those needs aren’t met, I will do what is within my power to explore healthier options.
  7. I will take pole, movement, dance, aerial classes—whatever it takes to keep me interested in movement, and whatever allows me to be a student. Because as an instructor I have an obligation to keep learning, and grow my knowledge on good technique as well as what tricks and combos are out there. Pole is changing rapidly and growing, and I want to be the best instructor I can be.
  8. I will take time for my own body’s healing, strengthening, and maintenance. Whether that is rolfing, massages, spas, pilates, yoga, manis and pedis—I will do whatever it takes to make my body whole, and I will listen to my body. Because whether or not teaching is a primary source of income for me, to be injured means that I can’t dance. I will cross train, flexibility train, and strengthen, outside of pole work. I will practice what I preach about doing things on “both sides” and balancing the muscles of my body. Because I understand the importance of both flexibility and strength.
  9. I will always keep my student’s best interests in mind. I will not let them rush, skip fundamentals, cheat, or try things that they aren’t strong enough for. I will push them, gently, to accomplish as much as I know they are capable of, whether or not they realize it for themselves.  I will support them and give them the tools, skills, and strength they need to accomplish their goals safely. I will do everything within my power to create, and maintain, a non-competitive safe haven for everyone who takes my class. Even if I have to get momma bear on someone.
  10. I understand that when I walk into that room full of poles and students, I become a friend, a sister, a role model. I know the emotional weight I carry from my own past, and the responsibility that I have to try to be sensitive to my own baggage. I will do my best to be healthy from the inside out, to find balance and joy in my own life, and to be the best example and influence I can be.

Tomorrow’s post: Thursday Tips