Discussion #4422

Find Your Teacher Training

60 min - Discussion
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Join Carrie Macy Samper and Amy Havens as they discuss teacher training programs and what to expect if you are looking to become a teacher. They will talk about specific information about the Equinox Teacher Training Program as well as information on teacher training in general. They also give advice on what to look for in different programs and how to go about researching different programs so you can make the right choice for your future.

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- Equinox Education

- Choosing the Right Teacher Training Program Blog

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Feb 26, 2021
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(upbeat music) Hi everyone, I hope you're having a wonderful day. Thank you so much for tuning in to our Pilates Report by Pilates Anytime again, thank you for being here. I'm Amy Havens, really excited to be talking about this topic of finding your teacher training program. And I have the wonderful privilege to be talking to Carrie Macy Samper, the Director of Pilates Education for Equinox today. Before I introduce Carrie and have her step in, I'd like just to go over a couple of the housekeeping items that happen at the beginning of these webinars.

And so for some of you who haven't joined us before, welcome thank you for the repeat people. You've heard this, so just be patient. But once I introduce Carrie and we dive into this beautiful topic and important topic we'll have a wonderful conversation and we want you to engage with chats. We do want you to engage with questions. We'll save the question and answer for about the last 15 to 20 minutes of the webinar.

But before that, please engage us through chatting because that's part of what we're doing here is having a conversation and we need that exchange. So without further ado, please welcome Carrie Macy Samper, yay. Hi. Hi Carrie, how are you today? Thank you for having me, I'm well, I'm doing real good.

And real quick I want you, where are you? I am actually at the Marina Del Rey Equinox right now. The club itself inside here is closed. Just employees are allowed in, we have our outdoor Equinox in the wild on the roof right now. So the club's open outdoors and I'm here.

Wonderful, wonderful so again, everyone, this is Carrie Macy Samper the Director of Pilates Education for Equinox. And that's a big responsibility, Carrie. Congratulations on that. I know you've been holding that for a long time now. And your history with teacher training is a rich one.

This is not your first rodeo with this. You've been doing teacher training for quite a long time. So Carrie's introduction Pilates was through dance, a little bit about Carrie and she did, she was advised to go learn from Romana. So she began training with Romana and that she got certified through Romana from New York. And then that led also to Power Pilates and Bob Liekens.

So Carrie, will you talk to me and explain a little bit that relationship between you, Romana and how that led to Bob and Power Pilates? Yeah, of course. So I was doing my teacher training program with Romana in New York City. And Bob Liekens was one of our teacher trainers at that time so in the early part of the day, all of the apprentices would be at Drago's with Romana and then in the latter half of the day, we would all go to 2121 which was a different studio to observe Bob Liekens teach and so I really respected Bob immensely as well as Romana. And so when the Pilates world had a bit of upheaval after that time I was getting certified right during the trademark lawsuit around 2000 and Bob went over with Power Pilates.

And so that's when I said, where did Bob go? That must be a good place too because he's such a wonderful teacher. And so that's how I became involved with Power Pilates and got a second certification with them. I did the bridge program with Power a few years later. Wonderful, right.

And you had your own studio for a while and then you from what I understand, you needed a teacher training program within your own studio within your business. You decided to write your own. So I need to know, I love everyone to know why with all the training programs that were already out there. I mean, other than maybe a financial asset for your business which is a big one but why did you Carrie feel that you could do a, write a comprehensive teacher training program after coming out of Romana and Power? And did you get their blessing?

Well, let's see that the history there is a little bit rocky shall we say? Not, Romana and Sean Gallagher had splits in their program. And so Romana kind of went on her path with Romana's Pilates, with Power Pilates, we had parted ways at that point. And so I just felt like, well, I have a lot to offer. I don't know, I didn't really think too hard about it that I needed to somehow prove myself in any way.

I just knew that I really loved teacher training. It really came from a place of deep respect and deep love for the method and that I wanted to keep doing it and offering it. And my opportunity then was to create my own. Wonderful, right. How did it go at the beginning? Was it rough, was it rocky?

Was it like the landscape of the the industry at that point? Did you get a lot of interest kind of see how this training started? So when I was just in my own studio I had a group of like nine people in the first group. And it was just word of mouth really people who were coming to my studio and wanted to get trained. And so it was small.

And then a couple of years later when I had to close the studio down, I went back to Equinox. I had been there previously and so I came back as a Pilates manager at one of the locations. And at that point Equinox was launching teacher training programs for group fitness, for yoga, for Pilates, so they were going down in education. Equinox has always been invested in education but this was a big investment on multiple levels. And so I had the opportunity to show them my training program and it became the Equinox training program.

So that was a huge opportunity for me and very exciting at that point. That's how that began there. So once I had a bigger voice and a bigger platform, a bigger stage of being at Equinox, then the program did grow bigger from that point. We still started small, the first year that we ran it, it was in 2010, it was just in four markets. So Los Angeles, Chicago, we didn't even start in New York City first.

It was maybe Miami and one other place. And then over the years, it grew to 11 different markets. So we still started small. It's small but not really that small. I mean that's a lot, I mean but it wasn't international, it was US-based, yep.

Yes, it was US-based at that time. And we had to interview people and I had to gather the teacher trainers. I had to go train all the teacher trainers and all of those different markets, so right. It was a much bigger undertaking than just me teaching it at my studio, it was a drastic change there. Yeah, a big one, right.

And I think for those watching who are wondering how to choose their teacher training program the word Carrie, just uses responsibility and I'd like to add it is a big responsibility to become a Pilates teacher, you know? And there are so many types of programs that we'll talk about small versus just a one woman show. Let's say someone like myself doing a map versus all the way up to a corporate heavy hitter program, international that has all full comprehensive. So for those watching that are wondering what kind of, I think the big question that I'd like to ask too and have Carrie address is what kind of teacher do you want to be? What kind of teacher do you wanna be in the Pilates industry?

And that as you were doing your market research taking a look at the various kinds of programs out there. So Carrie let's talk a bit specifically about Equinox, a little bit more about Equinox and we'll kind of branch into the bigger topics of the other parts of the program but it's comprehensive. I'll let you take it, you go ahead. Okay, yeah, our main program is a comprehensive program and it of course is changing its face now post COVID or we're not post COVID, in the middle of the COVID and how we present it and how it's going out but it does take about nine months to a year to complete it. It has, it's main focus is the authentic or classical repertoire but with a real critical thinking eye to it.

So it's very important to me that that was one of the, actually one of the reasons I really wanted to do my own training program was to answer those questions you know, well, why is the exercise like that? Why should I cue it this way? Why does it hurt this person? Or why is that piece uncomfortable for this other body? I wanted to be able to give students the anatomical and the biomechanical background to be able to critically think about the method and think about the position and maybe what they do need to alter.

Do need to change in order to make it receptive for that person. Do you think, well, do you feel like that was something that you gleaned from all your work with Romana and Bob because they I did not study with those two. I did some workshop, not with Romana, unfortunately but the critical thinking and that laser beam focus of cueing and not too many words just, does that come form you? Yeah, for sure from Bob, from Romana, it did although she didn't explain how she critically thought about, it was sort, she was amazing at that. I mean, you would watch her and just be amazed at how her ability with it but she did, she couldn't put it into words especially into biomechanical words.

And so Bob definitely took it that next level. And that's one of the reasons I did bridge program was so I could understand more. And then I just wanted to understand even more, so who could I bring in to help me write this piece of the training and then apply that biomechanical aspect of it to the teaching? So that's a big piece of our program. I heard the word observation in there that Romana observed maybe she didn't have all the exact wise, how she would explain something but as she would watch students, as you just said her observation of how you all were moving was how she helped shape cueing and hands-on, how rich is observation?

The observation process for you in the Equinox program. You require observation? Yeah, well and in pre COVID absolutely. So part of the piece of the program was people would come into our clubs where I'm sitting now and observe sessions in action, in person. We are changing how that occurs now, I mean, observation is a very important piece.

It is going to be done more virtually but still with opportunity to see instructors make decisions. And then the students get to ask the questions about why did you make that decision? What was going on there to understand that? Because I truly believe you really do need to see teachers make that choice and ask questions about it and get their reasoning and then be able to apply that as an instructor yourself, yeah. I agree 100% with that.

And because we're never done watching we're going to be watching students our whole career. So it's a good skill to build prior to investing the time in a program is how are you as an observer? I think that's extremely important if someone's maybe short attention span this might not be the profession for them because it's fixed focus for client after client, class after class, so explain a little bit more with Equinox. So the full comprehensive that means all the mat, all the equipment and so does mat come first and then you move into the equipment. I would imagine beginning level, intermediate, advanced and all the apparatus, and then am I close?

Yes, so we teach our program in as a system which is really sort of the classical way to approach it, right? So in our seminars students are learning your beginner system mat order and your beginner system reformer order, your beginner system one to chair, high chair, baby arch barrel. So there's exercises on all the apparatus at the beginner level. And then they also learn anatomy and simple anatomy with that piece of the seminar. And then they move on to the intermediate section.

So they learn all of the intermediate level exercises on all of the apparatus and this and then the same with the advanced, the advanced level exercises on all the apparatus. And the anatomy gets more complicated. Biomechanics gets more complicated as they move through as well. So there's always the connection of the Pilates movement to why it's happening in the body and what exactly is happening in the body with the movement, that goes hand in hand with the programming of the session, right? When you're gonna bring someone into the studio in this perspective, you want them to experience work on the mat on the reformer.

And then what have you seen on those two pieces of equipment? What does their body need? Does it need a barrel today? Does it need something on the Cadillac today? Does it need more stretching today?

Does it need intensity on the one to chair? Do they need more mobility and their hips, shoulders that they need strength somewhere. So then you can use the other apparatus to sort of auxiliary apparatus to focus specifically on what that client needs. So because that's the format that we instruct to students to teach sessions in, that's the way they learn the exercises too in the seminars, just to make it more clear about progressions and programming and things. Wonderful, that's really clear.

And I think in some programs that I know about, well I give them and to say this one differently. One thing I hear from people who've gone through teacher training sometimes is they don't feel really ready to take on the clients once they're kind of certified or graduated. They've learned a lot of material, they've memorized the sequences, they've practice the, of course their self practice hours. They've knocked those out pretty quickly but it's the how to teach piece that when I had a studio and people would come and look for a job I'd observe and let like they're missing something. And it sounds like Equinox is really hitting that because of you and what you've created but the, again the responsibility that we're taking with working with bodies.

So it's not a bad thing to just kind of go teach exercise but this sounds richer than that. Yeah, yeah, I mean, one of my pet peeves of, as a Pilates teacher is seeing people just teach choreography just with no reason behind it. Well, what's the concept of footwork. Why do we do footwork? Like really why do we do it?

And what is it, how is it functional in your body? What is it giving to your clients? What's it giving to Amy versus what is it giving to Joseph? And so a big piece of our program is our cueing, the effective cueing technique. What are you saying?

How simply can you say it but how specifically can you say it and how effectively can you get someone moving into the movement and then let their body tell you what you need to say, what other cues can you give? And how can you say it in a way that most everyone will understand, instead of an esoteric Pilates cue that all of us use is something like deepen your powerhouse, what does that mean, right? What does that really mean? I mean, as Pilates instructors, hey I can deepen my powerhouse and I'll probably do it right. But your new client who comes into the studio that doesn't give them a lot of information.

Oh, do you mean pull, make my ribs heavy in the mat press my hips into the mat and widen my collarbones. Okay, I can do that, right? Or even just tighten your waist, you know cues that are simple like that. So our program really focuses on that and not creating parrots or people who just say the exact thing that I say, own your own words. Like it's so cool to me when a student will say something and I'm like that's beautiful.

That would never have come out of my mouth. And now I've heard that a new way. So yeah, that's a big focus and so important. Yeah, I could not agree with you more and help but I would love to know how you or how Equinox trains and teaches one, a person to go there to not just parrot. I mean what kind of tactics and strategies are you teaching and implementing to your teacher trainers to have them feel that sense of independence as a teacher, their own voice and not just copying.

That's a great point. Partly it's time, right? That's why these comprehensive programs take a long time. And that's a question I get so often why does it take a year? I mean, really, as you said Amy, at the end of a year you're just ready to begin your journey.

Romana would say that to us all the time. She's like, now you're a baby teacher. Now that you're certified so now the real learning begins. But it's also important to feel the work in your body. So we require students take sessions throughout the program from teacher trainers.

So they hear different cues from different teacher trainers. And so they feel it, they hear a cue, oh, they connect to it in their body because if you don't have that deep connection in your own body and connect it to a cue, there's no way you could come up with something else on your own, right? So being able to really embodied the work even if you can't physically perform snake and twist perfectly, right? Or if there's something wrong that you're not able to do certain exercises, totally fine but what can you do? What's your modification for it?

And then what do you feel when you do it so that you can then say that to your next client? Because you know what where they need to feel it and what they need to feel. Yeah, can you talk and tell us about the vocal coaching that Equinox provides in the program? Yeah so this is something that I did feel was missing from my first two trainings because my first year of teaching, I completely lost my voice. Like it just, after as I was teaching like eight hours a day just so passionate and trying so hard with all my clients.

And so I did not know how to use my voice properly and just shredded up my vocal chord. And so for about two weeks, I couldn't speak at all. And I said, I have to figure out how to fix this. I think I need singing lessons or something. And I actually took a great continuing education seminar for Pilates teachers but learning to use your voice.

And that taught me, okay, this is a applicable, it's not the same as singing, right? But it's we are professional speakers as Pilates instructors. And I had that within me and then when I was creating the training program, it was seriously just serendipity that somebody showed up at my studio who was a Pilates instructor. She introduced herself and she also told me she was a professor of voice training at Pomona College. And I said, Oh my gosh, I think I need you because I want this piece in my program.

So she crafted and then we worked together to make a voice training program that teaches you the fundamentals of using your transverse abdominis to help sort of open the vocal cords and push the air out as you speak, as opposed to just pushing the air from your neck. So we incorporate this into our training from the beginning and have the students practice as they go through so that they learn to project their voice without scrunching the vocal chord. Yeah, wonderful, I wish I would have had that. No, I think when I first started teaching I experienced the same or other weird things. I got this weird, like repetitive stress issue in my wrist joint from changing springs.

I didn't, anyway a long time ago but the voice training is kind of unique to your program from what I understand. So there again, and so for people who are kind of investigating the programs out there on the market if this really resonates for you, hey, I want to save my voice for the long term. This is a program to consider. So we'll kind of go back and forth a little bit more back into Equinox in just a moment but with considering the different types of programs on the market, for people who are researching like we've already talked about this. We have the classical lineage based traditional if you will, which Equinox is more, Romana kind of New York that style and lens, as we also have more of the contemporary training on the market.

And those contemporary programs are more like Balanced Body or BASI if you will. and things that might, and Polestar that may incorporate more of a physical therapy or special populations emphasis. I know that classical traditional also can do all those but some programs and styles are more leaning toward the rehabilitation side. And then we've got, the difference with large international organizations versus someone maybe local, oh, maybe a husband and wife just doing their wonderful grounded teacher training in their city. So for those listening you've got a lot of these choices to consider, some are modular.

You can only do maybe choose mat and reformer all the way up to full comprehensive. You're looking at a year not just a couple of months of an investment of time, any benefits and pros and cons to, I guess it also comes back to, I would make my question, what kind of teacher do they want to be, right? Yeah, I think it matters so much that you love the Pilates and you believe in the Pilates you're teaching. So if you just randomly choose a Pilates program but if you choose the Equinox but you've been taking sessions with a bounced body instructor and then you're like, wait, what am I learning? This is similar but there's so many differences.

So I really encourage students to take sessions from the other lineage that they're considering like, okay if you want to get certified in a more contemporary program, go take some sessions there. And if that resonates with you and it feels like what you wanna teach, that's your program. Yeah, because you don't wanna get caught in a place where it's like, what is this? This is not what I thought Pilates was, they all have a very a similar thread of course, they're all Pilates. They're all based in the method.

They're all based in this the principles of Pilates and precision and breath and flow and control and many of the exercises are similar. But how you think about programming how the sessions are built, what focus is put on different pieces is very different. And so it is really important that you like and you are passionate about what you're gonna learn. Right, right, beautiful. I think with the world that we're in now with COVID and how it's changed so much and the way many of us have to do business now prior to COVID, can you talk a little bit about the ratio of time of in person learning versus at that point even pre COVID, how much was online versus obviously now it's all online or do they get to come in to your facility?

Yeah, so prior to COVID it was all in person. We were pretty old school still. We had nothing online except some video links I guess but no, it was all the hours were in person. So now we have done about seven virtual mat certificate courses that we do have another training that is certifying you to teach a group fitness style mat Pilates class. So we did launch that last summer, completely virtually and obviously that's much easier to do without equipment.

So that we've been doing and just this March we're gonna relaunch our comprehensive program in this new format. Much of it will be virtual but there's still the students will still be coming into the club. There's a requirement for them to come in and use the equipment. You have to feel it, you have to touch it. You have to have a person there that you're teaching.

We have very strict safety protocols now in our clubs that are open. So the students will be in a studio with it depends on the location but up to four people or less at a time. And we do have to, we can't touch our clients so that's a big difference right now as far as safety goes, there's a lot of verbal safety cueing and things like that. So the students will still have to come in, many of their weekly just ongoing practice hours will be in person in the studio. But there also is a lot of virtual, the seminars will be virtual and the coaching sessions and things like that are virtual.

And then there are a few things where there's teacher trainers on the grounds where they will actually be in every location where we have students there are teacher trainers, so they'll be available and to assist students in the studio too, so it's a mixture. (laughs) Yeah, a big mixture and I think we have, I'm gonna address a question here, so Carrie, thank you, or from Melissa, a question for Carrie is, do you also teach hands-on cueing? So I like to really, it's for any program that anyone is considering right now BASI, Polestar any of them. This is a big topic because we know Pilates, we do touch. We have to or do we have to, I like using my hands when I teach, I like feeling a teacher come and just giving the most subtle context sometimes not so subtle but that's the mechanism for teaching is through hands.

So now with COVID and even post COVID, how we might respond to either going approaching a client, student, teacher trainer, student hands-on can you talk to that? Absolutely, no I'm a very hands-on. I was a very hands-on teacher and that was a big part of our program as well, is teaching the spotting and the hands-on cueing. That's still remains a piece of our program that we're relaunching it's in the manuals. We will talk about it but we can't actually have you touch clients in our club right now.

And our teachers at Equinox are also not doing any hands-on cueing. So it's a piece of the program that you will learn in sort of an esoteric way until we're able to get back to a little more normalcy and shift up. Is it driving you crazy? (laughs) For all of us that are hands-on, it's an adjustment. It's an adjustment like this whole year has been and how we're having to adjust into our new temporary maybe new normal, you know?

Yeah, I think that teaching virtually has been a really good lesson in that. So when we had to shift to teach virtually of course you can't touch when you're teaching virtually, I can't touch across the computer screen. So then when you go back into the studio it is a little easier not to touch 'cause you've been holding yourself back. Although I don't have the luxury of teaching in a studio right now yet, I'm in California and we're still closed. And so I know my colleagues could speak better to that for sure, I miss teaching in general, it's been a year almost, right Amy?

(chuckles) Yes, it's been a year, knocking on the year door. Yes, indeed, yeah, yeah okay, thank you, Carrie for that, I know that's an it's an important question that comes up from even in the times of normal of again, what is that? But you know how much hands-on teaching is taught in a program? I think that's pretty important to ask but you know again, if someone is looking for a program and excuse me and want to become a teacher. If you're uncomfortable with even just the thought of a coming and approaching someone using your hands now might be the time to really investigate just your language building skills because we aren't in a time of touching.

So maybe by the time you build your confidence with the teaching words and the strategic thinking around the programming maybe then it's just the touch will become so intuitive and so natural. It could be a little blessing in disguise this whole time. So, yeah. Oh, I so agree with you, I so agree with you because I think teachers generally before when you're a new teacher, before you have all your words it's really easy to go in and just move someone, their foot on the right place, I'm gonna move their foot. But if you don't do that and you develop your word which is what Romana and Bob, what they would force you to do they wouldn't let you go in and touch someone.

They said, no, what do you use your words put your hands behind your back. Kind of felt like a toddler a little bit but use your words, honey. (chuckles) But if you have the words and you're practiced with those, and then you intuitively know what you need to do to touch, your touch will be more important and better received by the client too. Yeah, beautifully said I think, I would not really want to attend to that. I just really responded to that.

It's again, it comes to time also. And if you're in a rush and you really if you want to be a really killer mat teacher and you wanna work in a health club setting when those can open someday or you want to be an online mat only teacher, there are ways for you to find programs like that that are module or who just offer mat. And I think Balanced Body is one of them I'm not gonna call out all the programs that only offer mat. I tend to know about the programs that are more comprehensive as well and that might be someone's interest or they wanna take on a part-time endeavor in their life. And they have like two days a week that they want to do something different than their normal.

You can do that, you can do mat and reformer there's wonderful opportunities to become a very skilled mat and reformer teacher. But I think the, what Carrie is offering us as listeners is some of the deeper why do you want to be a teacher? Again, I keep circling back to that topic because of the responsibility again. And I think it will only make you a richer teacher, a more robust teacher if you really continue to question that for yourself as why do I wanna do this? It'll be make it more exciting to take the test that happened.

So can we talk about the test out process with Equinox? And then I know some others that do different kinds of tests out processes, so what's the test out? Sure, okay, we have three tests out throughout the training. So there's one that's your beginner level test out, one that's your intermediate and then your final exam. So the first one comes after you've completed 100 hours of your work.

So that's including seminar hours and your practice hours in studio in virtual, you take a practical and a written exam at that point. And then the same thing for intermediate you have a practical and a written and then the final exam is a practical, a written exam and a performance. So you actually perform what we asked you to perform. The practical sessions are always you teaching a session. And some of those, a few some elements of surprise in those tests, as far as you get the plan some of it out in advance but then some things not.

So you really have to have studied all your material and the written exam they're all multiple choice. So that in an effort to make it less biased, all of my previous programs were short answer. Ours initially were short answer but that's very hard to grade, you know and across the board have it be fair. So we've switched that format for the written piece. Right, right.

Okay, what if someone does not pass any of the levels of testing? I know some training programs out there give you an opportunity to retest within a short window of time, does Equinox have that? Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely, we really look at them more as progress reports so as opposed to like a make or break test out. So do you know the material that you need to know?

Can you show us that? And then if you didn't show it to a certain level of ability, then we give you feedback you take the feedback and then you get a certain amount of time to then retake the exam. I don't think we've ever had anyone not pass the exam eventually. And I'm saying with one or maybe two more retests, it's very uncommon to take more than one retest because usually the student takes it and doesn't pass and feel very badly and gets the feedback and worked hard and does an amazing job the next time. That's usually how it goes so it's a very supportive environment.

It's not like you're wrong, forget it, you're on your own, go figure it out, we're not like that. It's definitely, what's like this together, where are you missing things and what do you need to do? And we give you really specific action steps to then come back and retest. So for all of you who are listening if anyone's having test anxiety, just hearing any of that it's a real thing, test anxiety but you're gonna get tested in any program whether it's a written, always written and you have to be able to show what you've learned and you have to be able to demonstrate again you're gonna be working with a live body or live bodies. And so teacher trainers need to see you do the work.

So that's a pretty common question to ask yourself. Let's talk a little bit and for people to consider cost with different programs on the market. So again, if we're going for a smaller desire, let's say just becoming a mat teacher I think you can find programs for maybe 750, 700 something like that for only mat all the way up to comprehensive full everything for 7,500 and on but keep in mind everyone who's thinking that might only be the tuition, right? And so often there are other costs, sometimes manuals cost extra. If you, in the other days, long ago when we had to travel to the facility or travel to the facility to take the test out but any other hidden, not hidden but costs that people should be aware of that you know of in training programs, oh, and lessons with people.

Sorry, what was that Amy? Taking lessons with along the way taking lessons with the trainers, yep. Yeah so any personal lessons that you're required to take are definitely an extra cost. Some programs charge you for your tests out additional fees for test outs and retest, like you said the manuals and some programs that are broken up into different segments mat, reformer, different apparatus are gonna have different fees for those pieces of the program. With our program, with Equinox, it's all inclusive aside from your personal sessions.

So that the sessions you do need to take on a weekly basis pretty much are something that is outside of the actual program costs. Although our students get a 40% discount on the session costs. So they do get a big discount. That's helpful, keep that in mind folks, that's really helpful, I don't know if all programs do that. So that's something definitely to consider how about and I think this is another big one is the beyond the program and after the test out occurs and they pass and you've given them, okay, your wings a little bird go fly and become your teacher.

What other additional support does Equinox offer or can you advise and give kind of expand that thought and what people should be considering? So let's say I'm not yet a teacher and I'm shopping and I wanna know how am I gonna be supported once I'm out of the program? Can you talk about that just a bit? What should people be considering post program? You know, for me I was always very much sort of on my own with this.

So I really sought out when I was a new teacher, we didn't really have that very much. And so, I mean, you could always go back and take a lesson from Romana but there wasn't any additional support. So I really sought that out on my own. And one of the reasons I became so involved with the PMA from the early stages because I found people like you, Amy I found these other great teachers that I never would have known about just sort of staying in my own teacher training, small little area. So the way that I've approached it with this training program at Equinox is we encourage our students to when they're done with our program to take the National Pilates Certification Exam and then continue their education that way so that they do have access to anyone to learn further.

So if they wanna really understand more about osteoporosis and Pilates, they can go follow an instructor, a master teacher who really knows that, right? So that's the route we send people on. I know other programs have kind of a graduate system and having to renew the certification through the program and things like that. We don't do that with Equinox. If you're hired by Equinox which a lot of our graduates do work at our clubs.

We do have a lot of opportunity for giving you a job as well when you're done with our program, then there is, we have continuing education here at Equinox that you're offered as an employee. So that's a different piece but that is yeah, that's kind of how we approach it as far as your continuing education. Wonderful and so job placement, it sounds like you do, Equinox does kind of assist with that. If there's a job within a club, kind of helping maybe make a suggestion, hey, this might be a good opportunity for you or yeah, that's wonderful, I think that's another big thing to consider those that are considering becoming a teacher. I think it might be an, this is my honest opinion there might be an illusion here that you graduate and you get your certification and you've passed that all the sudden, you're going to have a full-time schedule and all these clients coming your way and your classes will fill, do you feel that's realistic?

Or can we help shed a little light and expand that thinking and help people understand that it doesn't always occur. And it might, for some people you might be lucky and get that but I don't think that's normally the case. And so how to advise someone that it could take a bit of time for you to develop your client load. And I'll also add my thought in here, define what you need in your client load first. So you set your own personal expectations.

My first six months I'd like to have 10 regular sessions or hours a week or whatever that is for someone but how, can you talk to that, the realistic matter of getting work once you're done. Yeah, well, certainly clients do not fall into your lap. I mean, that I feel like that was a little bit it was easier to get business 20 years ago when I was first starting out it's hard to say that, has it been 20 years? Yeah, anyways, Pilates was newer. There wasn't a Pilates teacher everywhere, there weren't studios everywhere.

So that was a little bit easier than, now you really have to think of it, you have to figure out why you're valuable, what you have to add to the table and think about your clients, who are they? Who do I want them to be? How do I give them value and retain them? How do I teach a first time session that will speak to this person's goals? And this person's desires yet still teach them Pilates.

You can't just bring in your regimented session and plop it on them and expect Pilates to sell itself, 'cause it doesn't, right? We really have to hear who our clients are, tailor what we're talking about in those first sessions to them and continue to deliver with that. So, yeah that's really important. Yeah, thank you. Okay, just we're having such a great chat and a lot of information being shared.

We do have some time for question and answer, so and we have some people asking some questions so thank you for hanging out and waiting for this time. So this is another one from Melissa, what type, brand of equipment do you have in the Equinox studios for teacher training? We have three different brands, it depends on the club you're in. So I'm in the club, I'm in now this is a Garage Cadillac. So we have Garage, Peak and Balanced Body.

And it just depends on which club you're in. And we teach on all of those. That's great, well, that's nice. I wasn't aware of that, wow. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

So it's really, it prepares a student to go out and be like, oh, I've never seen this reformer before but I can figure it out. I love that, well, that's another important point is because not, yes not all studios or places that you go to get your job or you're hired in, have the same equipment that you learned on. Oh, I many times early in the days, so what is that I don't know what that is, so. Okay, here's another question. And this is from Kira, since the start of the pandemic, how have the demographic of who shows up for teacher training changed?

And a great question. Who's showing up to your teacher trainings? Who is showing up are a lot of fitness instructors who teach other forms of fitness. So they teach hit classes or treadmill classes or cycling and just want another modality. There's a lot of people who've lost jobs and have time, so career changers, those who haven't taught before.

And I don't I honestly don't think that's changed very much. I think we've always had those types of people take our mat course. So I just think that the demand for it, there's a lot of people are able to shift, what they're doing now. And so the the demand has been higher for sure, for teacher training. It's interesting because we can't all teach.

(laughs) But yeah. We will have a surplus of teachers. We have a few more minutes. We have time for a couple of more questions. If anyone is curious and wants to have a question directed at Carrie, take advantage of the expertise here with Carrie.

If anyone has another question to ask, I have a, yeah. I have fond memories of some of the teachers that I have worked with over time. And again, Ron Fletcher was one and I didn't have to go through the Fletcher program but I did lots of workshops with the Fletcher school and he just kept drilling the, this is a big and then he would use an expletive bad word, responsibility to take on being a teacher and anyway, it's really it's great to hear the demand has been so high for Equinox programming that back to you the response to your question a moment ago. It's wonderful and I think that does say a lot about the Pilates method and the language that we teach in Pilates and how it does feel for people and what that's giving people in here because we can't go out and do it but what it's giving people so it's nice, positive that your program is getting so much attention. Yeah and I mean, I've heard from other colleagues in other programs, it's similar, so it's a nice time for our business.

We've all had to pivot and shift how we're giving the information but people want it. And now is the time when people need Pilates, to bring us back to health and bring us back to happiness. As Joe says in his books, this is one we need to be doing Pilates. So I'm glad that a lot people want to learn to teach it. Me too, me too and again, it's just a, I think what last year has given us or yeah, we're still in the year but of opportunities to be oneself.

And some people are who are interested in becoming a Pilates teacher, you get lots of choices now, like I said, you can do small, just mat and rock it and do the best, become the best mat teacher. And maybe you wanna dominate online, there's ways to do that now. We have a big world, the longer method of a full comprehensive program, I think is still where my heart lives too. We have another great question from Kira coming in. And her question is, have you redesigned any of your program to meet some of the exhaustion and feelings of isolation during this pandemic?

What a great question, Kira. Yeah, we've definitely redesigned the program and how the delivery is given. I don't know, specifically to address the exhaustion and feelings of isolation. I mean, the fact that people are joining into a program and are going to have weekly check-ins and interaction with other people in person and virtually, I think definitely helps with that isolation, providing a space at Equinox for them to come and work out and learn a new skill definitely helps with that, but we're really focused on what are these exercises? How can you cue this effectively?

And that piece of it Right, as teachers we make a huge impact on our students, our audience, again we're holding space for them for an hour in private, sometimes two or three private hours a week we're really making an impact. What do you wanna leave us with, teachers listening or people listening that are seeking out and becoming a teacher, how to find a program? Any parting last words you want? I don't know if we have any more questions in our chat queue here but what would you like to leave people with who are searching for teacher training program advice? Yeah, I think kind of what I touched on a little bit before is that take lessons, take lots of lessons yourself from varying teachers with the ones you really like find out where that teacher is trained.

Find out a little bit more about the history of either that training program or the teacher that they had. And take time to do that research before you decide to invest money into a training program because they are expensive in money on time. And you wanna make sure that it is something that you really feel deeply passionately about and you connect with and agree with. So take time before you just jump in to do a little bit more of your own research and actually take the sessions and feel the work in your body because it is a physical method. And if you don't have the work in your body or under feel what Pilates is, you're missing something going into being to try and to teach it.

So that's definitely my piece of advice is just to take from lots of teachers and once you find a good one, great, but then try someone else and try someone else and experience different modalities 'cause you really might find the perfect fit for yourself that way. Yeah, great advice, great advice. And thank you for that and also for, as we went kind of a nice eclectic conversation about kind of jumping in between Equinox's programming and design in terms of just on broad thinking, I will refer back to the blog that we have on Pilates Anytime written by Roxy, it's wonderfully written as all of her pieces are, that it really gives you more of a thinking mind to go through this. Some of us are auditory but this way you can really read and the like ask yourself those questions, what kind of programs are out there? What are the costs involved?

What kind of teacher do I want to be? What do I need post all those kinds of bits as you're doing your research and you might surprise yourself, you might come up with some answers that you didn't know were there initially and taking Carrie's advice there. I agree wholeheartedly with you've got to saturate yourself with what the feeling is and align with that, with the program that you can really represent and you can feel proud of once you come out of to say, I am a teacher for and I represent the school for, you know that, so. I don't think we have any more questions, Carrie. I wanna say thank you so much for joining me with this and for the Pilates Report and for all you that have tuned in.

And for those of you that are listening to the replay, thank you. Keep asking questions, don't stop just because this is almost over, you can type them in once it's back on the site live or the replay. So, Carrie, I'm sure you have-- Thank you, Amy. You're welcome. Oh yeah, thank you all so much.

Or training, thank you too, thanks everyone. (upbeat music)

Comments

1 person likes this.
Thank you so much Amy and Carrie for this very informative and interesting discussion! I live in Germany and was wondering if there is Equinox Studio in Germany!? Or something similar!? Amy, where did you do your Pilates Teacher Program!? I am a big fan of all your classes.🙏 My background is dance, I am a choreographer,artistic director of a company and teaching ballet classes since 16 years. Pilates, I started when I was still dancing. Since COVID 19 we had less to do in the theatre and I became a member of Pilates anytime! I love all the different classes and teachers etc.... So, I am at a point in my life where I am pondering about, if I should do a Pilates teacher course!? What do you recommend for people with dance background... besides the fact that I have to find the method for my type, like Carrie said! Anyway, would be lovely to get some opinion from you. Many greetings from northern Germany! Jutta
1 person likes this.
Jutta I am so glad that you enjoyed the discussion!  We certainly had fun talking about teacher training.  Equinox does not have a location in Germany, so it would be a little bit hard to do our program.  But I know that there are some great teacher training program there.  I can ask around and get back to you!  
Carrie, thank you for your response and asking around! 🙏 wonderful 
Hi Jutta thank you for your comments and questions.  I received my initial teacher training via The PhysicalMind Institute, but that was nearly 25 years ago!  I've done extensive work with Pat Guyton in Boulder, Colorado and Cara Reeser who has just moved back to Brooklyn, NY.  I'm glad my teaching resonates with you.  People with dance backgrounds, in my opinion, love ALL Pilates styles!!  It's such a compliment, as you know, and very similar.  I tend to lean more in the direction of functional movement and science.  And yes, Carrie Macy  is correct, you have to find a method and teacher that are right for you!!!  Stay in contact if you have any further questions. 
Thank you Amy for your response! I might come back to you with more questions...😉I ’ll keep on searching and also going to enjoy your online classes and learn from that! All your classes are so well rounded and structured, your comments and explanations are fantastic! You are truly an inspiration. Thank you! 

Jutta, it is worth using the teacher training filter when choosing a class here on PA...you get a real flavour for the different programs.
Thank you so much Jutta and I'm happy to continue this conversation.  Reach out with any questions you may have.  And yes Genevieve Malcolm , the filter here on PA for finding various teacher training programs is also a very good resource.

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