Fewer than one percent of the world’s Alexander Technique teachers teach the Technique full-time (more than 25 hours a week). Almost all Alexander teachers have fewer pupils than they’d like.
Alexander pupils are scarce and therefore particularly precious to the teacher. So it hurts when you lose one.
So why do Alexander teachers lose students?
I suspect the primary reason is that we make the student feel wrong.
It’s easy as a teacher to start pointing out to the pupil things he’s doing badly. Let’s say he holds his breath when he gets in and out of a chair, tips his head back, tightens his neck, compresses the torso, locks his knees and generally acts like a right wally in this daily task.
Telling the student, “G-day mate, you looked like a right wally there” generally does not create a lasting student-teacher bond.
The teachers who make a go of it with Alexander Technique make their students feel amazing. Julia Caulder and Michael Frederick are a couple of masters of this in Los Angeles. I want to be more like them.
I come from a background that gloried in pointing out to people where they were wrong. I’ve always enjoyed taking the mickey out of folks. It kept them at arm’s length.
As I head into my dotage, I’m trying to let go of my scathing ways. I want to help people, not hurt them.
As a teacher of the Alexander Technique, I assist people in noticing how they respond to stimuli and I show them various ways of letting go of responses that don’t serve them. Instead of telling them where they’re going wrong, I try to activate their thinking so that they can see themselves more accurately and not need a guru to point things out.