Becky Reijs, a Lolita’s Legacy Educator in The Netherlands wrote about a subject that is close to her heart. Her wish is that educated Pilates trainers all stand together as teachers of this wonderful method and that fully certified teachers & educators stimulate the “gym girls” to follow an education. So here it is, her article on “Untrained teachers and their effect on the Pilates industry.”
Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the “weekend warrior”, the teacher who follows the weekend course, watches a dvd, a film on YouTube or even worse, the completely uneducated teacher. These teachers then feel able to go off to the gym or community centre and teach a matclass.
What would it be like if the teachers at the first port of call, the ones who are the face of pilates, were all fully certified?
Whether we like it or not – these people are very often the first port of call for a large portion of the public, therefore becoming the face of Pilates. The confusion about what Pilates is, the devaluation of the method in its credibility, economical and monetary values is a reality, and I believe that the above situation is the root of the problem. However, what can we, as educated teachers do to change it?
One important focus is to look at the quality of certification programs available to potential students. What would it be like if the teachers at the first port of call, the ones who are the face of pilates, were all fully certified? By the generification of the word “Pilates” a world of inadequate, cheap and easy training programs has been opened. In the country where I live there are a few “Pilates” teacher training programs that have been set up by people who have never followed a certification program themselves. How can you educate students in a method that you are uneducated in yourself? The consequences that arise from this are numerous. Sadly there are also talented teachers following these programs who have no idea about the origins of their education.
Only by working together and encompassing all these levels can we even begin to think about changing the pilates world.
As anyone can legally call themselves a Pilates teacher, or Pilates teacher trainer, it would be impossible to put a stop to all the weekend courses. Nor can we force all teachers to join a professional association. My question is, could it be that the change has to be made on all levels, from bottom up to top down?
Bottom – we need to let teachers see the necessity of education. How can you teach Pilates without a proper comprehensive education? Can you fully understand the method if you have never worked with the apparatus?
Middle – we need to educate the gym owners and managers. If the product that they are selling to the public is better, then their clients will be happier. On an economical level this will increase turnover and create client loyalty, thus boosting business.
Top – we need to create a professional association and approach the organisations that are employing the inadequately trained teachers. I believe that we can create a construction with the gym owners where all teachers of pilates have access to proper education. Responsibility for this task should lie with us as educators. Perhaps this is something we need to initiate here in the Netherlands?
Only by working together and encompassing all these levels can we even begin to think about changing the pilates world. My dream is to see a future in which every teacher is part of a professional association, where the public knows what Pilates is, where there are standards set to provide every client access to proper Pilates. My personal goal, and one that I am working hard for, is the recognition of Pilates within a clinical setting. Making Pilates accessible to our patients as a method of rehab, regardless of their income, and its inclusion in healthcare insurance.
This is the change that I want to bring, for the people I teach in the physiotherapy practice where I work. Educating the teachers, gym owners, being able to define what Pilates is to the public and the medical world will make what I want to achieve much easier.
There will always be teachers who don’t want to educate themselves and I’m afraid that poor quality, cheap and easy pilates teacher training programs will be around for a while. To combat this we will have to make our argument sound, our message clear, be patient and stay hopeful. As Joe often said “Rome wasn’t built in a day”
I understand where the author is coming from, however it’s not 100% true for All mat teachers. I am certified through Power Pilates, a very well-known classical Pilates certification course. Yes, my mat certification was two weekends. But, I have a plan. The comprehensive course is roughly $6,000, and I have to save up for it. I don’t have money growing on trees, I have a family to help take care of. Also, I am educating myself FIRST by taking more apparatus classes. I am not comfortable teaching anything I am not 100% comfortable doing myself. I love the Pilates method and I have been practicing for years (mat), so I appreciate where you are coming from but I want you to see my side as well. I want to teach Pilates and be fully certified within two years. That’s my goal, but first I have to have the $6,000 to get fully certified. Thank you for your article and for caring so deeply about Pilates. Best regards and live well.
Anke Schroeder says
I have started with a mat and equipment teacher trainer course, that felt more like learning exercises and I am doing now the Romana teacher training program. I realised Pilates is a method and following the system changes the body much more. I am teaching in a gym at the moment and as you said I feel the responsibility to share my knowledge with the clients. I tell them that I do the original exercises in order of Josef Pilates, I explain why. Sometimes through in a more interm/adv. exercise to demonstrate why the order is necessary as their bodies are not ready yet. Tell my clients that Pilates was not meant to be purley mat and that equipment exist. I could quit my gym job, but as you said so many teachers are not teaching in a classical way in the gym. To change it would also make sense to have more classical trained teacher teaching in a gym to spread the message what Pilates is all about.