You’re A Teacher… Right?
I was waiting in the studio lobby on a cold, dark, rainy, windy evening in October.
I was chatting with the girl who was there to check in Vancouver’s hardcore Friday night yogis… partly to be friendly, but also to distract myself from being nervous. I was talking a little too fast and bouncing from one foot to the other because I had way too much energy reverberating through my body.
I was anxious to get in there. I wanted to hit the Start button on my playlist because I knew I got that part right. I was less sure about the rest of it.
The doors opened on cue at 8:30, and glistening, sweaty people of all shapes and sizes started streaming out in their kodachromatic Lululemons and cleverly-sloganed Spiritual Gangster tanks… all with that zen-induced, tranced-out look that signifies the temporary attainment of enviable vacant bliss.
It was like a Yoga version of The Walking Dead… imagine zombies, but the happy, healthy, and pretty kind, who just want to hug you and compliment you on your alignment and your hair.
As I fought my way upstream towards the studio, I came face-to-face with a guy who caught me in a super(sonic) eye lock. I was trying to slide past, but he had something to say and wouldn’t move. He said, “Hey, you’re a teacher… right?”
I literally turned around to see if he was talking to someone behind me, but nope, he meant me. I was confused and thought he must be too — thought he must have inhaled too many fumes from a new Yoga mat or something. I was about to respond in the negative when I caught myself.
I actually was there to teach a class.
So, I wrestled the No from my doubting brain and grabbed it before it slid off my abetting tongue. With tremendous effort that required me to focus intensely on every single word, I said, “Yes I am.” It was such a weird feeling. I felt like a fraud. I was sure someone would laugh or call me out.
My words kind of hung there and I thought about trying to retract them with a qualifying statement or series thereof: “Sort of… well, just learning to be… not really… maybe one day.” But he stopped me by saying, “Yeah, I came to one of your classes a couple of weeks ago. It was great.”
Then he moved on and I went into the studio to teach.
Yes, to teach.
It is an interesting badge to wear, an awkward title to claim.
On the one hand, of course I am a teacher. I’ve been on this planet and have learned things — things I can share with others. I am enthusiastic and supportive and confident.
On the other hand, who am I to teach anybody anything?
I don’t mean that in a self-deprecating, falsely humble way. I just mean that I’m wandering on this path of life with everyone else, making shit up as I go all the time. I rarely know what’s coming next and am surprised at every turn. So it’s odd to think of myself as a guide for others.
As for the evening’s class, I had prepared and practiced. I had my certification and had several classes on the scoreboard. I was ready. Ready to teach.
It’s not that I don’t have more to learn and won’t improve and develop ways to be more impactful, more effective, and more fluid. It’s just that I have earned the right to call myself a teacher and need to grow into that label.
In the end, I had the best class. It was so fun. I couldn’t stop smiling. I closed with a quote from a writer named Anita Krizzan that says, “We are mosaics… pieces of light, love, history, stars… glued together with magic, music, and words.”
We all have things to contribute and to draw upon. Things to learn and things to teach. It’s a beautiful thing.
Andrea Baker has a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology and once knew everything there was to know about Byron and Bundy. She is a certified Yoga teacher and ever-evolving student in Vancouver’s beautiful Yoga community. She has divided her life equally between Canada’s east and west coast … never living far from the sea. The ocean has influenced her writing, her Yoga practice, and her approach to life. She distrusts capital letters, loves sticking eka pada koundinyasana, and wishes she was just a tiny bit taller. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or her blog.