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Eternally I Am Your Student

Juliet Kaska

I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a teacher. And, conversely what it means to be a student. I have spent almost 20 years being a teacher of fitness, movement and function, from group classes of over 200 people, to private one-on-one instruction. Last year I had the privilege of teaching & guiding 7 students on their path to become Pilates teachers themselves.

I love teaching. Selfishly I love witnessing the transformation a person goes through when they find the true power, form and beauty of their body. My heart bursts when a person who has suffered with chronic pain, becomes pain free. I am overwhelmed with joy to see someone who's believed they are "fat," "weak," or "clumsy" discover the new "them" that is fit, healthy, strong and agile. It is a privilege to witness their growth, and I am deeply grateful.

As much as I love teaching, however, I equally love being a student. They say that if you really want to learn something, teach it. I have found this to be true. Teaching has deepened my knowledge of fitness and Pilates exponentially. But beyond that, each of you have taught me so much, not only about an injury, or how to be a more effective teacher, but how to have a deeper understanding of myself. You've challenged my perspective. I've had to learn how to stretch myself as a communicator, learn patience, learn how to be present in each class, each day, with each person. Never have I had to be more present to that then this past week, when while I was taking care of my ill mother and we ended up in the ER. My mother, due to her dementia, is very ornery, and can be downright nasty. Externally I never lost my cool with her even as her "nasty" side kept lashing out. Towards the end of our ER trip, the attending approached me and complemented my "kindness & patience" towards my mother. He said he "sees family members lose their cool during far simpler situations" than what my mom and I were dealing with. His words stuck with me, and as I fell asleep that night it became clear to me that I have my student "teachers" to thank for that. I have spent almost 20 years teaching, but I have also spent those same 20 years learning. My students have trained me in being present, to be clam, to be patient, to be kind. My students prepared me to be strong for my mom. Thank you. My gratitude for this runs deeper than you'll ever know.

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