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How well you are received/successful you are as a yoga teacher isn’t necessarily a reflection on how good you are as a yoga teacher. Teaching yoga comes with a lot of opinions from students, studio owners/managers, and other teachers.
The majority of the time I have witnessed and experienced good feedback, but sometimes feedback can not be so positive, so how do you deal with criticism as a yoga teacher?
1. STUDENT CRITICISM //
You’re more likely to receive “criticism” from a student than anyone else. The majority of the time the feedback comes for an expectation the student had about the style of the class or studio itself.
If the student has a problem with the style of the class and you taught the class in-line with the description of the class, thank the student for their feedback and perhaps give them a suggestion for a class that may better fit into what they were looking for out of the class. You may even suggest another teacher that may fit the student’s style or expectation better. Don’t take their feedback personally. You can’t make everyone happy!
Sometimes students can be a bit mean. Try not get let this get under your skin. If you really do have a problem with something that is said, let them know that they can direct their concerns to management.
If a student has a “valid” complaint, such as the music was too loud, or the room was too hot/cold, etc., thank them for their feedback and let them know how you will deal with the issue. Whether you direct the complaint to the manager or you make a suggestion of how you will adjust the music next time. In my classes I have a wide variety of ages. Some students like loud music, some like it softer so they can hear me better. I often will make suggestions of better spots in the room for students to hear me better and offer to turn the volume down a few notches. Then I will check in with those students later on! This also helps to build rapport among your following.
2. CRITICISM FROM MANAGEMENT //
Managers are people too, and they are trying to run a business. If you receive criticism from a manager or owner of a studio take some time to digest what they say. That can be hard. Sometimes we will immediately become defensive and other times we will shut down and take that criticism to heart.
In the past, when I first started teaching fitness classes I was told that students liked my classes, but wanted them to more challenging, now I am told that I have some of the most challenging fitness classes. I had agreed what management spoke to me about and upped the difficulty level of my classes.
I have also had managers speak to me about things that I didn’t agree with why they were upset about something I had done. I still apologized and went on my way. Managers and owners are just people too. So when they speak to you about something, take some time to think about whether they might be right in their opinion or if maybe you just say thanks for the feedback and move on.
3. CRITICISM FROM OTHER TEACHERS //
Teaching yoga is such a bizarre industry. You would think that we are all nice people, but in reality we are all trying to get a one-up and keep our jobs or get more jobs! It’s a dog eat dog world in the yoga industry.
I have definitely been to some classes where the teacher was highly recommended and the class was packed of regulars. But, after taking the class I just didn’t understand the excitement. But, I would never go up and tell the teacher that.
I have on ONE occasion been somewhat confrontational with an instructor. I took a class that was supposed to be a flow class and she taught a deep stretch class instead. I was modifying some of the stretches due to injury (nothing disruptive) and she called me out in class and told me that I had to follow along with the group or others would get confused of what we were doing. After the class I spoke to her about my concerns. She didn’t seem to care that I was upset by her way dealing of the situation. I have not returned to that studio.
If another teacher criticizes you, listen to them, just as you would a manager or owner, evaluate what they have to say and either say ‘thanks for bringing that to my attention’, or maybe you apologize for the experience they had. Just remember that when they are in your class, they are a student and you are leading that class. Don’t treat them any better or worse than you would any other student!
How well do you deal with criticism? Please share in the comments!
Light & Love
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