My Invitation to Study:
Anyone who wants to come to see me for mentoring is welcome. This includes any student, from the past or new to me. There has always held an open invitation for anyone to study. I hold a great fondness for all students and teachers in my heart. The agenda will be the content of the material that we choose to share.
My first teacher of Pilates was Stephan Frease. He came to Boulder, Colorado in 1984. He discovered quickly that people wanted to experience Pilates. He was overwhelmed with more class hours than he could handle and no teachers. Stephan then would exclaim that the teachers were the product not the machines, the front desk, or the advertising. Those things support the environment within which the teacher and the student meet for a common purpose.
Since then Pilates has exploded and the need for teachers is still the studio’s number one problem. If someone is sick, leaves the area, or decides to join the circus, those class hours are still on the schedule.
I have taught Pilates teacher training and I wrote a manual notating my master teacher’s work with his permission. While the process was satisfying, teaching a list is not as creative as development of new insights and involves less self exploration. My current and former teachers tell me that this is why they come to me. I enjoy sharing my process because it either validates the material or we decide that it was an interesting experience never to be repeated.
My training as a modern dance teacher included daily improvisation. Each dancer had to create movement that expressed an idea that could be metaphorical or actual. Each student had to perform in front of the teacher and the class for critique. Sometimes the teacher would say that several counts had some merit and the rest should be discarded. Other times, the class and the performer decided that the piece solved the problem and was good for the creative process, but it should never be repeated. Ron Fletcher often shared movement with me that he had been working on at home. There were a few instances where he would present, watch the class, and say later, “Well, Miss Pat, that was interesting, but I don’t think we will do it again.”
Lately, I have been getting messages from old students who approach me by phone, email, or Facebook. They apologize for bothering me and they express fear that I may be hostile or angry because they have not been in my class for an extended period of time. This makes me very sad. I have a revolving door policy. If a student feels that they have received enough information, they may need time to process or to go to a different teacher to see another perspective. Often they come back. This is natural and no student or teacher should need to apologize for being independent, intelligent, and having discernment. I have had other teachers tell me that they were expressly told not to go to another teacher’s classes or workshops or there would be consequences. This is not teaching.
When the PMA was founded, one of the common goals expressed was the opportunity for the community to experience diversity. As a PMA member and a PMA CEC provider, it is ethical to encourage students to enroll in other classes. It is not just ethical, it is the path of education and the teacher is blessed to be a step on the path for individuals.