At our recent SOA board meeting, an attendee asked: “How do you recharge after teaching?” I became curious about what works for our Shintaido teachers to recharge? So, I ask for your comments and strategies and let’s see what a community does to sustain its teachers.
My interest stems from being a nurse, a nurse practitioner, a palliative care consultant, a woman, a wife, a mother and a caregiver who has experienced times of professional burnout and is aware of the risk of burnout in all caring professionals. This question has often been asked of me in my role as palliative care consultant. When I explored this topic, answers included the capacity to build resilience. Resilience is often a characteristic attributed to those who continue with caregiving of various types– body work, fitness coaching, life coaching, teaching, healthcare professions, parenting, and being human.
What are some of the ways to build resilience and recharge? There are plenty of research studies, talk shows, and books on this subject. Categories include but are not limited to self-care, spiritual inspiration and meditation, networks of likeminded people, expectations and goal setting, and time management and planning vacations. Self-Care typically includes exercise, diet, and sleep. So, I wonder, for a person teaching body movement (Shintaido, Pilates, Fitness coaching and more) – what does exercise look like when this person is physically active as a teacher already? I also wonder, if a network of teachers is part of success, how does SOA become a learning community to support its teachers?
I look forward to reading your ideas and what you have learned from being a teacher (in all the ways we teach and are caregivers) to answer the question “How do you recharge after teaching?” Please post comments in response to this to this article so that all can read your replies. Thank you!
I am a novice ‘teacher’, taking one or two Gentle classes weekly, at present. In a way I feel i am taking a risk by responding in a comment when I have so little experience but I am hoping that by doing so, others will also respond and I will receive useful advice and hints!
I am hoping to develop more gentle classes as I find it so enjoyable. Very often there is gratitude for sharing the experience with others, be it shintaido or anma, and a sense of joy. But sometimes I feel tired physically and unsure of how the lesson or anma went, how it could have been different etc. I am also a counsellor and sometimes work with trauma, which can be demanding too, if in a different way.
Here is what I personally do: go for a walk in nature especially enjoying the regular rhythm of walking and looking around, trying to experience what is out there, breathing fresh air; do some Life Exercise ; write notes to myself about what happened and let them be pondered somewhere inside, in the hope that this somewhere/something will produce some new ideas ; seek advice or help from sempai where needed ; make sure as was said that I try to get the basics right so as to have physical energy- sleep, diet, good balance in life style. I have regular acupuncture etc which helps with tiredness on all levels.
Also anma practice can help very much as there is a demand to be as present as possible, which itself brings something more alive, even when I fail; and it is working with energy as in a class. Then the human interaction itself can be invigorating especially when someone is bringing something which is touching.
One danger might be when things get into a routine. We need some familiarity especially in a Gentle class; but we also need freshness. This could be a challenge and directly relates to my own level of energy, I find. When I have that energy and brightness, this can be transmitted and amplified. Then there are times when the quality of energy of all of us in the class is different, maybe less vibrant or more subtle. These kinds of challenges really help bring interest and life. I had a few times where my own energy in class was very poor after illness, but was better after the class as there is something in shintaido which is very reliable. Knowing this helps when i feel weak. The change of season can affect people, including myself but i am trying to see it as an opportunity to stop and listen to what is around and myself. This is something I hope to develop!
I am also a member of several groups where we share things, some relating to therapies, and this is very supportive. So to sum up I am making use of people, practices, and the environment.