11 Nov What is the LIFT Teacher Apprenticeship Program?!?
We’ve been talking to quite a few folks lately about what our teacher development program is about and thought it would be helpful to share an interview I (Aaron) did for AcroYogatalk.com last year about the goals of the program. It has been lightly revised after our first year of immersions and teacher training to be accurate to how we have developed and grown. LIFT 2016 Teacher Apprenticeship was a huge success and we are really excited to bring our 2017 group together. We’re taking applications for the 2017 program now until January 1st. If you want to skip ahead to the teacher training page for more info, here’s the link: Teacher Apprenticeship. Enjoy, and get in touch if you want or need more information or you are ready to start the conversation with us about becoming a certified teacher.
I’m Aaron Lind. I’ve spent a lot of time being a student, mentoring under various teachers, supporting and mentoring for other teacher’s work, and continuing to be a student across many fields. I did about 800 hours of teaching practice through various teacher trainings covering yoga, anatomy, AcroYoga International (both levels offered), time with AcroYoga Montreal, years with Dutch Acrobatics teachers (Niko Douwes, Fons Bennink, Wybren Wouda, and others), private acro training with my coach in New Orleans Gawain Dupree, and private training with Jean-Luc Martin in San Diego. I love training and being a student, and I try to find every opportunity I can to study gymnastic movement, circus-style acrobatics, handstands, and various other forms of physical expression. I also have around 16,000 hours of in-class teaching and have taught yoga and acrobatics professionally since 2008. In mid 2014 I began teaching with Christine Moonbeam and she has become an incredible partner for me in all of my teaching endeavors and more recently in life as well. Christine has a BA in Dance from the University of Iowa, 6 of apprenticeship under her dance teacher, and 15 years of teaching experience, and brings a huge amount of information about movement to the immersions and teacher training. Eric Asay is also an integral part of the training, bringing the experience of his career as a (ridiculously skilled) massage therapist, movement therapist, amazing community builder, acro teacher in Reno, and massage teacher. Eric teaches anatomy, healing practices, self-care, and more to round out our offering.
My motivation for leading an acrobatics teacher training is pretty simple. I like working with new teachers as they go through the process of learning how to articulate themselves. It’s fun and beautiful to see a trainee gain confidence while working towards being able to express themselves fully. I was really shy starting out and my teachers pushed me, cajoled me, and found many ways to help me speak confidently in front of other adults. It was such a process, and I’m forever grateful. I like being in that role now, because I’ve been there and I know what it feels like, and I know how to get new teachers through it. One of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in this role is getting to see the process of a student unfolding their full confident self, standing tall and sharing what they love as an empowered being.
I prefer working with smaller groups to give more attention per student, and I like longer training formats because change doesn’t happen in a week or two, or even a month or two. LIFT is several months long and consists of 3 immersion-style modules over the course of 5 months. Each module consists of physical training, practice teaching, observational skills, coaching, program creation, learning about the non-acro skills that add to being a being an effective teacher including public speaking, community development and leadership, business skills, and more than we can go into in this format.
Before the teacher apprenticeship, students are required to gain proficiency in acrobatic skills. We offer three 5 day immersions for students to develop their practices before considering teacher training. We cover acrobatic fundamentals in the first, intermediate skills like washing machines and foundations of dynamic acro in the second, and advanced skills like Dynamic L-Basing (whips, pops, icarian games, and advanced washing machines) and strength oriented standing acro (lifts, foot to hand, hand to hand, and transitions) in the third. All told it’s about a year to two year-long conversation of developing not only skill, but also understanding and enjoyment of the practice before deciding if teacher training is a logical next step.
As far as highest-priority goals for LIFT teacher training, I think these three sum it up pretty well:
1) Develop teachers that are kind, compassionate, enthusiastic, and understand that above all becoming a teacher is about serving others.
2) Develop teachers that have a deep and thorough knowledge of how acrobatic skills work and how to apply this knowledge to a wide variety of student ability levels. It’s not about learning how to teach a few poses or tricks, but understanding the mechanics of acro that would allow a teacher to create a program that could be carried out over the course of several years. Included in this are the peripheral skills necessary to long term acrobatics training: understanding balanced physical conditioning and self-care that acrobatics teachers need to keep their students healthy.
3) Develop teachers that have deep observational and verbal skills combined with the necessary courage to use these tools to see that their material is well-learned and executed to quality.
If you are interested in learning more about training to become a high-integrity, knowlegeable, and articulate teacher, please check out Teacher Apprenticeship and read through the information about the steps toward certification. Please send us a message via our contact page with any questions, we’d love to be your guides on the journey towards teaching!
Photo by Eric Ward Photography