If you’ve just completed your Mat Work certification program and don’t feel ready to teach, don’t worry! This is completely normal.

In your training, you learned the basic skills necessary to succeed. You’ve learned many exercises, you know how to cue and design a class. You’ve probably done a fair bit of practice teaching. However, more experience and practice will give you the confidence and skills you need to succeed long term.

Strategy 1: Volunteer or teach low-cost sessions

The best way to get experience is to volunteer or teach low-cost sessions (pay what you can, $10 donation to a charity, etc.). Let people know that you are new and looking to gain experience.

You can approach community centers, churches, friends and family. When you are setting up group classes or one-on-one sessions, ask your participants to commit to at least 4 to 8 weeks at a time. This allows you to work with a consistent group of people over time. It also gives you the chance to observe their bodies and see how they change during the period.

In exchange for the free or low-cost classes, tell your clients you’d appreciate their honest feedback on what’s great about your classes and what you need to work on. You can ask this in conversation or even consider a short questionnaire. Ask for one good thing and one thing to work on. Avoid overly detailed questionnaires.

Strategy 2: Ask to assist at a local studio

You can also approach a studio and ask to help with some of their classes. At Body Harmonics, we invite new instructors to apprentice in specialty classes. Some care for babies in our post-natal classes while the new moms get a chance to work out. Others assist clients with neurological conditions like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s if the clients need help moving around and changing positions. This gives new instructors the opportunity to observe experienced instructors and to interact with clients in a low-pressure environment.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

If you’re an experienced teacher, how did you first gain your teaching experience?

If you’re new, what are you currently doing to build your teaching experience?