I’ve been teaching yoga for five months now, which is nothing compared to the nearly five years I spent teaching English in secondary schools. And it’s been a huge lifestyle change. I’ve swapped tea in the staffroom for coconut water by the pool (this is a lie… I can’t afford coconut water) and I no longer spend my weekends marking essays about Romeo and Juliet. I still don’t have weekends as a matter of fact, but that’s another story.
However, there are a few things that haven’t changed at all.
5 unexpected similarities between teaching yoga and teaching English
- Even when you think your instructions couldn’t be clearer there will be someone who hasn’t followed them. I thought this was unique to teaching hormonal, distracted teenagers in noisy classrooms. I was wrong.
- No matter how yogic and non-attached you try to be to the way your class is received, getting positive feedback from your students is up there with being told today is a snow day and school is cancelled.
- Conversely when the class doesn’t go as you’d hoped, it still feels like a personal affront.
- Students ask the most unpredictable questions. I’ve gone from, “Have you ever thought about trimming your eyelashes?” to, “What foods should I eat to open the heart chakra?” I’ve been similarly thrown each time.
- Teaching remains one of the most mindful practices you can do. Whether you’re teaching yoga or Macbeth, there’s something about the immediacy of instructing students and leading a class that brings you absolutely into the present moment. I love that about it.
However, one major difference? When it all starts to go wrong, in yoga it’s perfectly acceptable to stop the class and tell your students to close their eyes and focus on breathing while you remember what to do. I can’t see this having worked quite so well at school…