You may have all the lesson plans in the world, but if your class is out of control, it will be hard to teach anything! Here are a few ways to make your classroom an effective place for learning:
-Come well prepared for your class. Go over your lesson plan before children come to see you and have some extra ideas at the ready.
-Do yoga or meditation before teaching. Children will often reflect your own mood. The more calm, enthused and organized you are, the better your class will be.
-Be sypathetic to those who are acting out. Though some kids may be in a “bad” mood, children who do not understand directions, consequences or find an exercise too easy or difficult may act out. Look at your teaching strategies to see if some changes can be made to accomodate that child.
-Arrive before your class starts so the classroom is yoga friendly with distractions and dangers (such as toys, books, dirty floor) are out of the way.
-Continue your education. Observe other teachers in action and incorporate what works into your teaching strategies.
Need More? Asana Alphabet holds periodic teacher trainings….many coming up in February-April, 2012. More TBA at our website: http://www.AsanaAlphabet.com
A week before our next teacher training workshop (Jan. 21-22 in NYC..one spot left!) and once again I find myself going through the guidebook making sure I’ve caught every last spelling mistake. I thought I’d share a new excerpt from our upcoming preteen/teen yoga teaching guide…enjoy!
MUSIC for Teen Yoga Class
As an adult yoga teacher, I have strayed from using music in my classes so that my students can more easily listen to the sound of their own breathing. While music can inspire us to go deeper, it is often relied upon by some teacher to distract us or, if you will, to continue the ongoing chatter in our brains that we are trying to smooth out.
I also want my teen students to listen to themselves and silence can really be golden for them; but I feel music is a great gateway for getting teens to be interested and engaged in yoga, or even to want to attend in the first place. A useful technique is to play background music softly during the majority of class then slowly begin to fade it out. I find that the contrast of music then silence can bring the students more in touch with themselves. If you are good at keeping rhythm, using a drum to count breathing rhythms can also be engaging. Most teens love music they listen to in their free-time, and it may be a fun option to allow students to play DJ or have a free choice once in a while. Most of the time, teachers need to “re-select” choices because of language and subject matter that is not promoted in schools, so asking for music choices a few days beforehand is advised.
Teachers can use this opportunity in yoga to expose students to a variety of music styles. Perhaps using a relaxing piece by Bach that they are also studying in music class or taking a pick from the wide selection of music from other cultures. If you don’t have these selections on hand, try exploring the website GrooveShark where you can sample full songs of many artists (but be mindful….if you constantly pick an artist or a certain song, it’s worth the good karma to actually purchase it).
Finally, we school teachers also need to watch out for yoga music that chants about a particular God. Many schools I have worked in will not tolerate a chant praising Ganesha or Shiva so perhaps opt for a more “nonreligious” choice like Dharmma Mitra’s long Aums. And if you teach younger kids, you can also find some child-friendly yoga songs for purchase at www.AsanaAlphabet.bandcamp.com.
We’re really going to miss Nicole Levin here in NYC! Nicole recently gave up a somewhat “corporate” career for teaching kids yoga and she really came out of the gate running. Shortly after taking Asana Alphabet’s certification program, she found herself teaching yoga at our open classes in Soho, at a Williamsburg YMCA and at a Sheepshead Bay summer camp. Let’s just say she works hard, is super creative and her love for kids really shines through. Nicole has relocated to Atlanta recently to study towards a degree in nutrition where she also plans to continue teaching as well (and perhaps leading some Asana Alphabet trainings too, we’ll see!).
Our best wishes to you!!
Though doing partner yoga is a popular way to make yoga fun for both adults and kids, teachers often think that teens will be too self-conscious to try it out or will think it’s just not cool. At Asana Alphabet, we think that if you commit to the idea and present it in a teen-friendly way, incorporating partner yoga can: add a social component to your classes, challenge collaborative skills, expand yoga pose boundaries and most importantly, add a fun and unexpected element to class.
Asana Alphabet is happy to host our next “Teacher training” in teen yoga, Jan. 21-22, 2012 in the East Village. There will even be teens on hand so you can see and employ the techniques right away. To register, email AsanaAlphabet@gmail.com.