Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Marketing In Your Teaching Room

One of my big lessons in the evolution of communicating the value of this work to wary listeners, is that the skills in the teaching space utterly reflect the skills to communicate outside it. Marj was an innovator here – understanding that the motivation to learn can not be supplied by the teacher. Sure you, the teacher, feel safe when you know that you have “procedures” to follow, such as “Alexander’s teaching procedures” but the hard question you’ve got to ask your self is this: who is really interested in that? In “chairwork” or “tablework”? You know it works, I know it works – but are they interested in that or not? If not, you’ve got your self a major marketing problem before you are even out of the gate!

Some people will always stay with you. You could ask them to hang from their feet for 10 minutes in the hall until your lessons starts, and they would probable do it. Those people will accept whatever you dish out. Those people need no convincing, but those people will not build you a successful practise. Every AT teacher gets these people, but they don’t sustain a practise. That’s the problem.

They are the 5% ers of the AT world, still leaving you the other 95% to convince.

That other 95% - they don’t want to get in and out of chairs every lesson. They really don’t. It feels irrelevant to their life. They don’t know they don’t want that, they just don’t come back because… “It’s weird” or “I don’t get what they are doing?” or “No-one explains it to me.” These are uncommunicated negatives in the teaching room and guess what? These problems exist outside the teaching room too.

What can you do? Just start adding some simple activities. Teach them to sit at their desk and move a mouse. Show them how to stand at the station. Get their iPhone or Android out and teach them to touch the phone with their thumbs, not their head. Ask them to pretend they are talking on the phone to a difficult customer – do anything that is simple, relevant and applicable to whatever they do every day. This is simple stuff. Anyone can do this – no matter how you were trained.

If you do, your less enthusiastic pupils will start to get it. They can see why they study this, and (more importantly for you) can explain it better to their friends! Remember – we are talking about the ordinary person, not the devotee. Devotees get it. You don’t need to convince them.

Being successful as an AT teacher means looking not only at your website, your blog, your twits and your info documents (BTW - have any of those?), it also means looking deeply at the service you offer and asking: Can you deliver something that ordinary people – and there are MILLIONS - are willing to pay for?

3 comments:

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  2. Thanks for your blog Jeremy! I think you are right that it is extremely important that pupils explore the activities they do a lot or that interest them in the AT lesson. I myself found a way of keeping the chair and table work but combine it with playing an instrument, computer, sports, biking, driving a car, you name it. To every new student I explain that a lesson consists of three elements: 1) chair, 2) table and 3) anything else they would like to do. This works very well, because they know what to expect and I explain why we do it, and they don't get bored at all. I have had 2 students quit lessons soon in the 10 years I am teaching now; and that was at the beginning of my teaching career when I immediately realized I introduced the 'extra activities' too late.

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  3. Thanks for the background - I have a bunch of questions, but here's not the place for that!

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