I get asked all the time about Teacher Training Programs; people will ask me “what do you think about this one or that one?” And maybe you’re thinking of becoming a Pilates Teacher so you are wondering the same thing. Or maybe you’re just curious about the process your teacher went through? I can’t speak to each and every program that is out there – that would take way longer than either of us wants. But I can share my personal experience and tips that I think would be helpful for you.
Tip One: Know Yourself First
It may surprise you, but the first step in choosing a training program has nothing to do with the program. Before you jump into any program you need to spend a little bit of time asking yourself these questions:
How much time can I spend on my training?
How dedicated am I to putting in the study and practice hours?
How much money do I want to spend on my training?
What type of Pilates appeals to me personally? And why?
What type of teaching style resonates with me?
What kind of teacher do I want to be?
The answers to these questions will streamline which programs you are going to spend time researching, which is step 2.
Tip Two: Focus Your Research
There are hundreds if not thousands of programs out there; some reputable, some not. But knowing the answers to the above questions will help you weed out the ones that aren’t going to help you reach your goal. Make sure you don’t allow the wrong programs to distract you. Which leads us to the next tip!
Tip Three: Don’t Be Fooled
The fancy websites or the great sounding promotions are designed to catch your attention. And If you aren’t careful, you can get pulled into something that doesn’t serve your needs. If the program seems significantly cheaper than others you are researching, or seems desperate to gain your business, it’s a good idea to stop and ask yourself why. Many of the reputable programs have a waitlist to get in, so there is certainly no need for them to discount their services or beg for your business. Speaking of waitlists….
Tip Four: What Are The Entrance Requirements
A good program is setting you up to be an amazing teacher. Which means they are invested in making sure you aren’t wasting your time or money. Reputable programs will have an application process and an entrance exam. These requirements make sure that you:
a) aren’t making an impulsive decision
b) are physically prepared for the rigours of the program, and
c) have already made an investment of time into preparing yourself mentally and physically which shows how serious you are about this.
The wrong program just wants your money so they don’t care about any of these things. If a program is willing to let absolutely anyone in then I would recommend caution.
Tip Five: Take Classes
Once you have narrowed your options down, take some classes at the school or affiliated studios. This will allow you to sample the teaching styles of the instructors to make sure you are going to mesh well with each other. You are going to be spending A LOT of time together, so make sure you connect well. If possible, take lessons with all the instructors of the program. This has the added benefit of exposing you to multiple teaching styles and making sure you get a varied experience.
My Personal Experience
Story time! Based on the above tips, here is the process I took and what I learned from it.
I knew after my very first in-studio lesson that I wanted to explore the idea of being a teacher. (I had only done videos up until that point.) So I started researching Teacher Training Programs near me. Some of the first ones that popped up on my Google search were only weekend courses and I knew that was not something I was at all interested in. One program that I reached out to was willing to accept me right away, even though I had only done one class – no thank you! And many of the programs that were appearing were Contemporary Pilates, which was not the style I was interested in pursuing. Based on these factors, I knew I had to narrow my search. Once I narrowed down my search parameters I was able to dive deeper into the fewer programs that were available.
I eventually decided that the school I wanted to train with was The Pilates Center in Boulder, CO. It is commonly referred to as the Harvard of the Pilates world and met all the criteria that I had set. Further investigation led me to the very welcome information that they had a training centre in North Vancouver, which was very close to where I was living at the time.* When I reached out to this training centre I realized that the teacher I had taken my one in-studio lesson with was actually an instructor there! Win win!
Now that I had made my choice, the real work began. The entrance requirements were that I had to be able to perform the Level 3 repertoire. I spent a year working toward this goal and building up my knowledge and strength. And saving up for the tuition lol. I looked ahead at the schedule for the following years’ intake and started making plans for things like childcare and work. I knew that it was going to be a juggling act but I wanted to get the absolute most out of the 1.5 year program. Looking back, there are some things that I would have done differently during my program to maximize my experience but that’s another story altogether.
Know yourself, know your goals, do your research, and DON’T RUSH IT!
*This studio is under new ownership and is no longer affiliated with The Pilates Center. They do, however, still offer a fantastic Teacher Training Program. As well, The Pilates Center does have other Licenced Teacher Training Centers in British Columbia which are easily found on their website.