Training and Teaching
Alexander Technique teacher training is a three-year process. And in my teaching association, Alexander Technique International (ATI), at the end of the third year, trainees are observed teaching and asked to respond to questions by three qualified sponsoring teachers before they can be certified. The responsibility of the teacher to their students is not taken lightly.
When I first became interested in teaching AT, I wanted to learn how to use my hands in that uniquely expansive way that was difficult to put into words. When I began training I understood that it is not the hands. It is how the teacher is using themself that makes the teaching meaningful and effective.
The first rule in AT hands-on teaching is for the teacher be in a non-reactive, self-aware state before and during a lesson. We ask for nothing. We are inviting the student to sense what it is like to remove interference from their way of being and doing; to acknowledge the power of their inherent poise, mobility and most important, to connect with themselves in a state free from reaction. With our hands we are holding space for a person to discover what shows up in a non-doing manner. In my training with Tommy Thompson he said, this work is about a person's potential, and "Touching Presence," the title of his recently published book.
Teachers in all fields wish to guide the learning for the student. But in an AT lesson, the depth of the teacher's listening and the absence of demanding something from the student make it unique. The student may choose whether or not to have hands-on teaching. Indeed, a great deal can be learned through verbal interaction, activities and discussion. But the power of a refined and clear touch is unmatched!
In a time of pervasive technology and the isolation that comes with constant screen time, human touch is needed more than ever in our lives. The unique quality of AT touch can be described as a thought-infused sensory conversation. In my teaching I am always working to engage respectfully, effectively and gratefully with my students.