Teaching, when done correctly, is first an act of giving. Passing precious knowledge, experience, guidance and inspiration on, so that others can grow, evolve and benefit from what you have learnt. It is, and should be, a selfless act. I can emphatically say near all of the Belly Dance teachers who study my method and sit Certification, have the very special trait of having a giving nature ingrained in their very make up as people. They are hard-wired to give, to think about the other's needs first.
This trait, although not only useful but imperative in a great teacher, can also become her undoing. If it features in an out-of-balance fashion, or to the extreme, the teacher is on her way to burn out. It will show up in many ways:
She will overextend in class - digging deep to keep everyone happy and even entertained, even if she is feeling empty.
She will teach even if her numbers are too low to continue - just for the students.
She may engage in events for her students, even if her own gut feeling is saying 'no', or it stretches her too far.
She very often will have weak boundaries - allowing negative students to have their way in the classroom, or even be less than respectful towards her. She will not put an end to it, so as to 'not rock the boat'.
She, over time, will run out of energy, but will keep pushing through, not heeding her needs on many levels; physical, emotional, energetic.
There are many ways over-giving manifests. And this teacher will often have the same patterns going on at home/in her private life.
You cannot fill your studetns' cup, if yours is empty.
You need to learn to receive, just as much (if not more than) you give!
This can be confronting to people who are used to giving, and identify with that as a big part of their personality - like so many teachers. If you are such a teacher; one who's wonderful and lovely giving nature has been taken for granted, or has been over used - it's time to listen to the warning bells and turn this around. Striking a giving/receiving balance is a must if you are to continue to enjoy your teaching, and serve your students. Here are a few ways to do this.
Start to commit to self-care rituals in your day to day. Such as:
1/2 hour of doing something you love, just for you, in the a.m. and the p.m. is essential for people who give a lot to others.
Spend time alone, every day or as often as you can. This is so important especially to sensitive people, who have to spend a lot of time with others. Take out some 'sacred time' to be with your authentic self, and listen to her needs.
Run a bath, light some candles, massage your feet with some fragrant oil. Do nice rituals to your body that serves you so well as a Belly Dance teacher.
Get lots of sleep, that's when your body heals and repairs. Don't push your body into chronic injury or pain.
Weed out negative students. Speak to them in private. Request a change in attitude, or they can leave. To prevent this from happening again, get every new student to sign, yes sign, a "Code of Conduct" agreement on their first class. Type up some basic boundary building codes of conduct on a standard sheet that you give out to every student. On there lay down the law - of fairness, mutual respect, and confidentiality. Power and control people (the ones who later become the trouble students) will dislike this clear show of boundaries so much that they will most probably not enrol - saving you precious peace of mind and energy in the long run. I have known excellent, gorgeous teachers close shop because of ongoing negative students! Don't let this happen to your dream - creating safe boundaries for yourself first, and the rest of your students as well is central for your teaching business.
Lastly, take breaks! No one can give ad infinitum. Stop when you feel like you are empty. Fill up with a holiday, time off, diving into other hobbies, and becoming a student again. Learn with the best.
These are just some ways to fill your cup as a Belly Dance teacher, and maintain your light to burn brightly for the long run, giving you a more enjoyable ride, and keeping your school running for years to come.