If you are a massage instructor or thinking about becoming one, there are many things to consider before you attempt to jump into a classroom.
Let’s look at a few things you should consider:
- Do you have previous teaching experience?
- Do you understand the responsibility that comes with sharing your knowledge?
- Do you know how to work with the different types of adult learners?
- Are you creative?
- How long have you been in the field you are going to teach?
- Do you have any formal education in teaching or have you taken a teacher-training program?
- Do you know how to execute a lesson plan?
- Are you technologically savvy?
- Can you manage people well?
- Are you patient?
- Are you a natural-born leader?
- Do you have excellent communication skills?
There are so many things to consider before jumping into a teaching position. Often, massage schools will place a newly graduated student into a teaching position because it is a challenge to find qualified instructors. This is not beneficial for anyone involved. New teachers often express to me their frustrations with students and challenges with administration. They never realized there would be so many emotional issues to contend with either. They never even considered there may be many issues to contend with that involve administration.
Our industry is loaded with many passionate and dedicated massage therapists who have beautiful hearts; however, this does not make you an excellent instructor. If you seek to teach, then learn. If you learn what it takes, then get some experience as an assistant before you lead a class. Navigate a classroom to see how it gets managed. Notice the students’ needs and challenges. If you think you can effectively manage a classroom and inspire new students, give it a try.
If you are a frustrated instructor, perhaps you might benefit from a teacher-training program. A common frustration many teachers admit to is their own internal conflicts and inabilities to handle situations professionally. Perhaps, if you had more tools and support, you would find ways to manage your class with ease and be more able to share your passion.
Read Educating Massage Instructors: Part I, by Gloria Coppola here.
Gloria Coppola is the former owner of a massage school, curriculum writer and continuing education provider who was inducted into the Massage Hall of Fame in 2011. She has helped massage schools across the U.S. train instructors, and she owns Massage Pro C.E. For more information, visit her website at www.MassageProCE.com.
Writer’s note: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins has published a book titled, Teaching Massage: Fundamental Principles in Adult Education for Massage Program Instructors, that offers many tools, tips and suggestions.