Becoming an educator has been one of the greatest decisions I've ever made in my career. It has taught me a lot about humility, preparedness and serving people. I'm often asked about what it takes to be a great educator and to be honest, it isn't something I would recommend to most stylists. Anyone can teach, but it takes much more than just knowing how to do something to teach well.
First and foremost, education has the least to do with you and the most to do with whom you're teaching. You'll need to have personality when teaching. It's important to have confidence, enthusiasm, and a certain degree of entertainment when teaching. Confidence is key, but leave your ego at the door. The first few moments with an audience is the most crucial. You want to make a positive connection with the group which is difficult to do when the time is spent speaking about how great you are. It helps to practice a bit of humility. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. Get an idea of what people's challenges are beforehand to customize class content more effectively. As an educator, it helps to develop a servants heart. Our goal is to help people reach their fullest potential. Be enthusiastic about what you're teaching. People are attracted to enthusiasm. You're passion and excitement for what you do will help people feel relaxed and build trust in you. All of these combined will bring personality into the equation. And if you're consistent, you will build a positive reputation.
Next, you'll need to polish up you're presentation skills. Public speaking ranked highest when asking people what their greatest fears were. It makes sense, it's a very vulnerable position to be in which makes what we say and how we say it extremely important. Record yourself presenting. Listen to your pace, volume, inflection, and use of filler words. The pace is how fast or slow you speak. If you speak too fast, people can't hold onto the message, and if you speak too slow and people will get bored. Project when working in a large space or with a large audience. Especially if you don't have access to a microphone. Nothing will shake your confidence more quickly than having to repeat yourself because you weren't speaking loud enough. Use inflection to place emphasis on certain words. This creates a 'storytelling' like effect which draws attention inwards. Make sure to utilize pause to minimize the use of filler words like 'um', 'kind of' or 'like'. Body language should be relaxed and open. Avoid crossing your arms, and practice a positive or neutral resting facial expression. Move around your space and watch for distracting ticks like rocking, pacing or hand washing. Lastly, be prepared! You will be questioned along the way. As you should be. It's important to know your information well enough to respond positively, and with valuable information. There is no room for 'winging' it. You're audiences time is valuable. Don't squander it.
Build up your technical skills. Practice, practice, practice! The fastest way to get from where you are to where you want to be is by doing a large volume of work. The experience will prove useful when demonstrating to an audience. And when you've got it down, practice more! Take inventory of all the steps it takes you to complete a project and cut out what's unnecessary without compromising quality. This is called working with purpose and intent. It's the practice of working more efficiently and not about working quickly. The best instruction is often the most fundamental in nature. The best educators know this, and it shows in their ability to explain and perform the most complex of concepts in the most basic of ways.
Provide coaching and feedback throughout. I've been to so many classes where there wasn't a single connection made with my educator positive or negative. Imagine spending all that money to improve your work and being totally and completely ignored. Always be on. I've taught so many classes that have led to other opportunities because of a relationship I built during and after class. What about educating for a beauty school, product company, distributor, or independent? The answer to that depends on how closely the values and beliefs of those organizations aligns with you're own. There will always be the benefit of an established network and resources of a product company or distribution, or the structure of a beauty school, or the freedom of independent education. Just as there are pros to each, there are cons as well. Do your research to find out what works for you. If you're seriously considering a career in education research it. Figure out if it aligns with what you believe and value. And if it's something you really want to do, do it well!
Photo/Artist: Christian Gaytan
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Proud hairdresser. Passionate educator. Follow me on insta - Christianawesome
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