After I had been assisting in classes for a while, John Kells asked me to be the assistant instructor for a new class. Teaching people was not something I had ever considered or sought.
Actually I was perfectly happy just assisting in classes during the week and helping others during the Sunday catch up sessions.
It is nerve wracking to stand in front of a bunch of strangers who are scrutinising your every word and move. The format was that John would teach the class the new material and I would then go through it with the class. There were other students there to assist me.
But teaching allowed me to develop myself and confirm my understanding ( or lack of it). It was a great opportunity to listen to John and watch him carefully. I learned so much from this process. Much of this learning had nothing whatsoever to with the postures of Tai Chi. It was more about the transmission of energy. More on this important aspect in a future post.
What stood me in good stead was the fact that I attended classes every day and did lots of practise (Good and bad).
And this is perhaps one of the most important aspects of teaching people. You need to have gone through a form of "apprenticeship" with a teacher. Just because someone can parrot a form does not make them a teacher. Neither does reading a few books on something and then gushing forth with well prepared material. This is just superficial, egotistic garbage, however well intentioned. A real "appprenticeship" is frightening, exposing you to your core. It is bloody uncomfortable and disconcerting, to say the least.
Teaching Tai Chi or any spiritual discipline goes deeper. What we have learned , what we are and communicate comes from our heart and the energy we are part of. I don't actually do any teaching at all.
Of course, opinions will vary in the pick n mix spiritual marketplace so prevalent today. Tough!