You just finished your first 200hour teacher training and the world is bright. Your practice is stronger than ever, you have new ideas and you’re ready to get out into the world to teach. But what exactly should you be prepared for when you’re walking into your first (of probably many) demo auditions? The answer: ANYTHING.
As with any job interview it’s best to be as prepared as possible. As most of you learned in your “Business of Yoga” training module during your TT, it’s important to have a few key things in place before you hit your first studios.
The Business of Yoga
- Resume: This can be your traditional paper resume or a website (which is essentially a digital resume). Personally, I like both. My theory is, the more information that you can provide eligible studios upfront about yourself, the better. TIP: Make sure to include where you did your training, with whom, a little bio and some information on the style of yoga you like to teach.
- Yoga Alliance Registration: Make sure that you’ve gone online and started to apply for your YA certification. Most studios look at this as THE certifying body and you will not be considered a viable applicant without the RYT acronym behind your name.
- Insurance: Once registered with Yoga Alliance, it’s very important to get yourself insured. YA offers some great deals for their teachers and many if not ALL studios will ask that you provide proof of insurance. It’s a relatively low-cost safety net that’s worth it’s weight in gold.
- State Law Guidelines: Some states require you to have a business license. It’s good to look into whether or not your state requires this of you in case a studio asks you for all your credentials.
- Know Before You Go: Generally speaking, studios don’t hire people off of the street, they look to students who have been at their studio practicing and are a part of the community. If at all possible, practice as much as you can at the studio you are hoping to work for. Find out who owns/manages it and how they like to be contacted.
- Solid Practice: As a new teacher, you’re still working on finding your voice and that can take some time, but be as clear as possible when it comes to presenting yourself and your brand. The more you’re practicing, the better (and that goes for personal yoga practice AND teaching practice). Get after it.
So, you’ve landed a demo….
In my years pursuing my passion for teaching I’ve never had two interviews that felt the same. What one studio is looking for in a teacher could be completely different than what another studio is and thus, what they ask of you during your interview will be different. Your best bet is to simply be prepared. I’ve outlined a few scenarios that I’ve encountered so you can have some idea of the versatile nature of the illusive yoga interview.
- Demo Class: Probably the most common of all the interviews would be the traditional demo class. Normally the studio owner/manager will arrange for you to come in and give them a private class. Sometimes they invite other teachers from the studio to join as well to provide you a sense of a full room and they can gather more opinions on your style and how you might fit in with the crew. These can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours (if you can find out upfront- great!- but if you’re not sure just be as prepared as possible).Things to consider:
- They may or may not have music plug ins for you. If you’re used to always practicing with music, be prepped to know that you might have to work in silence.
- They are watching how you teach! It’s important to not stick to your mat and practice along. Walk around the room. Provide excellent verbal cues. Breath and if (and ONLY if) you’re comfortable in adjustments, give intentional hands on modifications.
- Be aware of what class they are looking to hire for ie: if they are wanting a Power Vinyasa teacher and you teach them a Restorative Flow…things might not work out with you walking away with a gig. I look at studios who want me to teach what I teach authentically from my heart. The fact is, I’m just not a restorative yoga teacher and although I could lead a decent restorative class, it’s not where my juju lies, so I stick with telling studios who I am and let them decide if they have a place for my style. It’s something to consider when you’re picking your studios. You can decide what/where you teach!
- Ask questions! Pay rate, when they want to bring someone in, how many classes a week, if they liked your style- ask about their studio (although wise to have already researched before hand)- show interest!
- Live Class: You show up at the studio and students are piling in the door. You see one studio room…. YEP- you’re the teacher. Personally, this type of interview is risky on the owners behalf and it would cause me to question how they are performing as a studio. If they don’t know you and they are willing to just give you a class to play with- it would concern me that they aren’t looking after the total wellbeing of their clients. I wouldn’t want to risk that as a studio owner/operator myself!- BUT it’s a common interview practice. If it happens, make sure you center yourself, stay calm, and teach from your heart. After it’s all done, communicate with the students and then ask the owner/manager the aforementioned questions from above (pay rate, class style etc).
- Coffee Date: Yep- sometimes the yoga is left behind all together and the studio management wants to simply meet you face-to-face. This would more than likely be a precursor to either a demo class or a live class interview, but you never know, some people go from their gut! Take all interviews seriously. I recommend dressing in gear, being clean, clear and holding a paper copy of your resume/business cards in hand.
- One Pose at a Time: Probably one of the more intimidating interviews is when you are asked to teach one to two poses TOTAL. This means that the person behind the interview is very knowledgable and looking to find out what you know. They might ask you for modifications, adjustments, explanations for what you explained/taught…. Your training is your money here. Remember to always start cues from the ground up, be clear, speak with intention and trust yourself. If you get something wrong, see it as an opportunity to learn.
- Video: Some studios get applications left and right so they’ve honed in on their process and rather than meeting you in person, they’ll have you submit a video of you teaching. Again, more than likely this step of applying would be a precursor to either a demo class or a live class interview but it never hurts to get your smart phone out, download a couple software editing apps and make a short 15 minute video of you teaching (it can be beneficial for you to see and hear yourself teach too!).
- The Godfather: Every now and again a studio you’ve been practicing with will simply approach you and ask you to teach. This is awesome and a high compliment. Be mindful not to get wrapped up in the excitement of ‘being chosen’ and forget to ask the usual questions; Understand all of the terms before agreeing to any position.
- Pay Your Dues: It’s VERY COMMON for a studio to ask you to submit your resume and then practice with them regularly for a set period of time (30 days seems standard). This is a way for them to get to know you and see your game. If you wanna work there, be there. Try various teachers, explore different styles and HANG. Get to know not only the teachers but the students. They might want to know how you will fit in with their client base, so spend time socializing.
- Wait Listed: Don’t be fooled, starting on a sub-list is most certainly getting a job. Although you’re not nailing down permanent class time slots just yet, you’re foot is in the door and you never know what classes you might be lucky enough to teach! Prime time slots with large groups might provide you the opportunity to touch a whole community and good word of mouth from students to owners is GOLD. Take all the sub-lists you can especially if it’s within a studio you want to be with.
I’m sure there are many other MO’s out there, but I hope this gives you an idea on what to expect when you’re expecting to teach yoga (any of you who get that pun earn five extra bonus points!). Have you had another experience? Share it below, and feel free to ask questions.
Wishing you well on your journey.