I recently had a conversation with a prospective yoga teacher trainee who had read The Professional Yoga Teacher’s Handbook and who turned the tables on me by asking me all the questions I suggest aspiring teachers ask teacher training directors. We covered what the Carolina Yoga Company’s training offers, and how its shift to a live online format will work. (Join us starting in January!)
She added a great question of her own: “How are trainees assessed?”
Some programs have written tests and quizzes. The 200-hour program I took back in 2003 had book reports (I wrote mine on the existing books on yoga for athletes, which then became market research as I was pitching the proposal for The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga). Ours has a quiz to comply with Yoga Alliance standards, but otherwise, all our assessment and feedback are delivered verbally.
Think about the context in which working yoga teachers are assessed. If they work in a gym or a franchise studio, their supervisors might come to class to observe their teaching and deliver a performance evaluation. But in most class settings, there is very little management.
Instead, teachers are evaluated by their student retention. If they are doing well, students return. If they aren’t meeting students’ needs, class attendance falls. And it is very difficult to know why students don’t come back—they just fade away with no direct feedback to the teacher.
In our program, we deliver verbal feedback after each practice teaching session. This is done in front of the full group, as the instructions always apply to everyone. And they boil down to a very few points:
- Speak loudly
- Speak slowly
- Do less: drop filler words, focus on one or to cues for each shape, move less quickly, don’t rush.