Teacher Training

Ease on Skis has now begun to offer training and certification for teachers of its methods. For years, we have only been able to offer one workshop a year, but that has now started to change. Word of our work has begun to spread, and the need for new teachers is rising. We give our students lots and lots of individual attention, both on the ski slopes and indoors afterward. To do so, our student to teacher ratio has to stay very low. Students learn skiing in very small groups, and get individual hands-on Alexander Technique lessons (as well as short group classes) later in the day as the winter sun goes down. This schedule requires dedicated and hard-working staff. It is also hugely rewarding for everyone involved. Our workshops can be life-changing. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, bravo to you. Read on, and you will learn what is involved.

 

Ease on Skis certification for teachers

Being an Ease on Skis teacher is a hugely gratifying and very demanding job. You need to be fit, ski well, understand the process and be able to offer excellent hands-on work even when you are tired. Not wasting your energy is a key ingredient of this job, and is at the center of everything you are teaching. You absolutely need to walk the path of ease if are to do well in this role. But what a great path that is! It is so much FUN! You will be joining an extraordinary group of colleagues. There is deep kindness and respect and skill and life experience in this group. We do profound and beautiful work in some of the loveliest places on Earth. Welcome to our remarkable team.

This guide will explain what it takes to become a certified Ease on Skis teacher. First comes a simple list of the requirements. Then comes an explanation of what they mean and the reasons behind them. Finally, there is the experience itself, which is very individual and personal and kinesthetic and tactile and hard to capture in words.

Ease on Skis teacher certification requirements:

      1. attending at least one 6 to 7 day long EOS ski course as an assistant
      2. attending at least one 5 to 7 day long EOS teacher training course
      3. knowledge of the Ease on Skis Method as laid out in Erik Bendix’s book
      4. assessment (strengths, weaknesses) as a ski teacher: (a) by oneself, and (b) by at least 3 already certified EOS teachers
      5. assessment (strengths, weaknesses) as a hands-on practitioner
      6. short written bio with photo
      7. testimonials from students
      8. statement of goals and dreams

Reasons behind these requirements:  For a teacher to guide a student toward improvement, the teacher must understand what it is like to be in the student’s role. Teachers may have forgotten what it was like to learn the skills they now have, or may have learned from peers or on their own without a teacher. For all these reasons, we ask our prospective teachers to be a student in at least one Ease on Skis course, no matter what their current level of skill.

Ease on Skis asks its teachers to rethink many skills they thought they already knew. Before trying to teach this new approach, it helps to assist a working Ease on Skis teacher. The point of this is (a) to observe the teaching process without the responsibility of actually teaching, and (b) to see how teaching is handled in the context of a workshop. Small group ski lessons must give equal time to all students. Diverse learning needs of different students must be met, striking a balance between copying movement, self-exploration and explanation. Students must be given simple challenges they can meet successfully. As assistant, you aren’t expected to do any of these things, but the process of observing from this perspective will help you clarify how you want to teach. Every teacher brings their own personality and style to their job. Watching other teachers in action helps you choose the direction you want to go in.

The Ease on Skis teacher training courses focus on pedagogy, on the art of teaching, and on the structures we have created to support good teaching. Topics include:

      • learning to observe ski movement with respect and without judgement
      • experiencing and understanding the role of the head in skiing
      • understanding the progression of movement exploration from indoors to flat snow to slopes
      • learning how to keep expanding the horizons of your own skiing skill
      • connecting ski instruction with hands-on private lessons afterward
    • deepening your hands-on skills

As an Ease on Skis instructor, you will be representing the Ease on Skis method as outlined in Erik Bendix’s book. When you read it, you will see it is not a dogma but rather a detailed series of invitations to explore and make your own discoveries. It would be easy to oversimplify this approach, make it rigid, or make it sound like a quick fix. Asking you to read and digest the book is a way of asking you to preserve the openness, the thoughtfulness and respect this work is based on. Please help us preserve this quality of our work.

Before being certified as an Ease on Skis Teacher, you will be asked to assess yourself and be assessed, both as a ski teacher and as a hands-on practitioner. What strengths can you build on? What weaknesses would it be helpful to address? Your self-assessment comes first, and the feedback from your future colleagues then responds to how you see yourself, and provides a mirror to you. Often your self-assessment will be too harsh and limiting, blinding you to your possibilities and potential. So feedback can take the form of encouragement. Feedback can also just be neutral: “This is what I hear you say.” Or (hopefully in rare cases), assessment can be a way to prevent attitudes that could harm yourself or your students.

Asking you to provide (1) a bio, (2) a photo and (3) testimonials from students all help you set up a professional profile that can be listed on the Ease on Skis website and that will help you market your skills.

Asking you to share your goals and dreams as an Ease on Skis teacher helps you clarify why you are doing this, and helps give you a direction to grow in as a teacher.

Relation of Ease on Skis certification to other certifications:

Ease on Skis certification allows you to teach in Ease on Skis programs, which are currently sponsored and supervised by an official Austrian ski school which generously offers us liability insurance under its own umbrella. Ease on Skis certification is NOT currently a certification recognized by the International Ski Instructors’ Association (ISIA), and does not qualify you to teach in a regular ski school. If you want to be employable in such a school, you need their standard ski teacher certification. Many ski schools offer such training, often with different levels of certification. If you want to make a career out of this, by all means get some of that training. Hopefully your Ease on Skis background will add depth and perspective and flexibility to your other training.

Do you need Alexander Technique certification to be an Ease on Skis teacher? It certainly helps, since our whole program is based on the Alexander Technique. As an Ease on Skis teacher, you will be giving daily hands-on guidance to your students, and you will need training and a good working knowledge of the Alexander Technique to be able to do that. As long as you understand that, and as long as your work is consistent with the Alexander Technique, it is OK if your hands-on training comes from other or multiple sources. Part of your Ease on Skis training will involve reviewing and deepening your hands-on skills, and at that point it will become clear whether what you offer is in harmony with what we offer. It is the quality of your work that matters, not where it comes from.

 

Below are some images from a recent EOS ‘Use Your Head’ workshop.

The view of the mountains is what we see out our windows at the Biohotel Bergkristall. The horses take us on our last night sleigh ride. The black and white photos show us making good use of our heads.