Who are you teaching for?

Who are you Teaching For?

Putting Students First: The Art of Selfless Teaching and Learning - By Nikita Thakrar

Reading time: 4 minutes

One of the biggest mistakes that I see teachers, workshop facilitators and leaders doing, is making their delivery about themselves and not about their students.

When I teach a yoga session, I allow elements of my personality to shine through, but as much as I can I focus on the students receiving and less about me fulfilling my own practice or achieving self-validation. My priority is for them to learn, and I think that this can be the biggest shift in terms of developing into an exceptional teacher.

When I first started teaching Yoga, I used to ask everyone at the end of the class how they found that lesson. Sometimes I would even ask them specifically what they liked or disliked, soon realising that this was not the most appropriate time or place to ask for feedback! Instead what is important for the student, is that they go home in that frame of mind. I.e. if they are feeling rested, calm or uplifted they maintain that state.

Asking them for reflections is fine, however instant feedback is most likely going to break that state, as for some it will instigate the logical mind and they will start to think about how to phrase what they want to say!

I recently went for a massage and I came out feeling like I was floating, however this soon surpassed when I was given a book and asked to write my feedback in it. The therapist was watching over me so I felt like I couldn't be entirely honest. Of course, it was a wonderful treatment, but had she not been there or if I was given my own time and space to do it, I could have perhaps given been more constructive.

For example, the temperature of the room wasn't as warm as I would have wanted it and the lighting was a bit too bright so actually in this case it was nothing to do with the therapist, but more to do with the environment.



However, I felt like I couldn't write those things because she was standing next to me in anticipation. I therefore gave her five out of five, signed the book and left. The result being that she is not actually getting any learning and therefore is not going to improve. Sadly from my side the effects of the massage could have been prolonged had she instead emailed me a link to later write the review.

This is an example of someone who is not solely focussing on the other person. The therapist needs to think about the client, the doctor needs to think about the patient and the teacher needs to think about the student. Only then will the person on the receiving end really feel as though they are really receiving.

I'm slightly cautious about going to a yoga class because I have had so many experiences where the yoga teacher stands at the front of the room demonstrating the postures for the entire duration. I often wonder if she is doing that simply for her own practice! Whereas what I would prefer is for her to go around, to correct, encourage and adjust but instead she stays at the front the whole time demonstrating.

This could be how she has been trained to teach but what it shows me is that she is mostly here for herself and not for me, and I personally dislike being at the back of a room following along. That said, this could be something about me; perhaps my desire to feel included. For some people they just want to do a class and go home, but for me being part of a community is very important and that is what I try to create amongst the groups that I teach.

There is a showmanship aspect to in teaching and some people have this quality more than others. I know that I have it, as I love performing and being the centre of attention. When I deliver talks, I enjoy it when people are attentively listening, but my intention is not to do it for myself. It is always to share, impart and ultimately inspire.

Nikita Thakrar

Nikita’s mission is to Educate and Empower people of all ages through Healing, Wellbeing and Personal Development.