Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Alexander Technique Teacher Training
What sort of people train as a teacher of the Alexander Technique?
People from all sorts of backgrounds train as teachers. Teachers usually (but not invariably) have a good general education and an interest in their own and other people’s growth, development and well-being. Many already have established careers based on other professional skills. The current trend towards teachers from a broad range of different backgrounds is very welcome, as it has the potential to widen public interest in our work.
People of any age can train as AT teachers. On our course, students have been as young as 20 and as old as 70 when commencing their training and have all gone on to worthwhile careers as teachers.
How do I know if I am suited to be an Alexander Technique teacher?
As with any profession, some people will be more suitable for this work than others. And, as with any profession, our interest in and wish to pursue this work is probably our best guide to the work that will suit us.
Training as an AT teacher is, for the most part, a process of coming to a deep level of understanding of the principles and practice of the Technique for ourselves, and the ability to apply these principles consistently in our daily lives. This is because the greater part of the skills required to teach the AT to others comes as a result of our own experience. For this reason, the first and most important reason to want to train as an AT teacher is because you would like to learn to apply the Technique to this depth.
Many of the finest teachers started with this motivation, the desire to study the Technique in depth for their own benefit; the wish to teach it to others often comes later in the process, when new AT teachers discover (as do all good teachers in any field) that one of the best ways to understand something more clearly is by teaching others.
Because our work leads inevitably to “personal growth”, in the sense of developing into a more balanced, refined, self-aware and clear-minded person, the wish to apply these principles in our own lives and, later, to assist others to apply them in theirs, is a further quality invariably to found in the most valued teachers of the Alexander Technique.
What qualifications do I need to enrol as a student at MATTS?
There are no formal requirements for enrolment into our course. However, applicants should have a good level of general education (however obtained, including from "life experience"), a reasonable level of maturity, and possess the interpersonal skills necessary to become an effective teacher of the Alexander Technique. There is more information under the heading “Admission Criteria” on this page.
Will I be ready to teach at the end of my training?
The 1600 hours of training mandated by STAT brings the great majority of candidates to at least the standard required to fulfil the STAT qualifying assessment for new teachers, and many well beyond that. However, some students may need more time to develop their skills to the level required to start teaching. Where this happens, most often it is not through any “fault” on the part of the student or their training, and it is worth noting that some of most highly regarded teachers in our profession needed to extend their training. If the training course directors think that a longer training may be required, they will inform the student as soon as this becomes clear in the third year of training.
Is post-graduate training required after qualification?
New teachers of the Alexander Technique are near the beginning of a process of developing the skills that will continue to develop throughout their lives. Any AT teacher, even those of the greatest experience, will tell you that they continue to learn new things each day.
STAT requires that teachers devote at least a proportion of their time to CPD, and this can be in the form of taking private lessons, work-exchange, attending (or presenting) workshops, research and/or other AT and related events. MATTS has a long tradition of being particularly supportive of our recent graduates, should they wish to continue to visit the school, where work experience, work exchange, turns from senior teachers and supervised hands-on practice are all available free of charge.
Do all training course graduates go on to teach?
A strong desire to teach the Technique as a profession is not a prerequisite of training, and many people initially join the course for their own personal development. It is common for students to experience their training as a transformational and life-changing experience, as they become increasingly able to appy the principles in their own lives with a clarity and depth not usually possible with a course of private lessons. The desire to teach the Technique to others is often something that gradually develops as the training progresses. The majority of our graduates go on to teach, but not all do, and a career in teaching the Technique is neither expected nor required of trainees and graduates.
Is the Alexander Technique generally known and considered to be of value?
The Alexander Technique was developed over 100 years ago and since that time the number of teachers (and therefore the public awareness of the AT) has increased gradually. In several areas of the performing arts the Technique is very well-known, and it is taught in most conservatoires of music, drama and dance in the UK and around the world.
Due to the recent publications in major medical journals of large, randomised studies on the effectiveness of the AT for common problems such as chronic low back pain (where it appears to be more effective than any other known intervention), neck pain and Parkinson’s disease, the Technique is increasingly being recognised by the medical establishment, and it is in this area that recognition of the Technique is most likely to expand in the coming years.
Is MATTS a STAT-approved training school?
Yes. There is more information in various places on this page.
Will I be able to make a good living as an Alexander Technique teacher?
Although some AT teachers work in institutions such as schools of music, drama and dance, and some teachers have found work in large companies, private schools or in GP practices, most teachers are self-employed. Self-employment comes with many advantages, such as the ability to choose when and where to work. It also comes with several challenges, such as the need to build your own teaching practice and to make allowances for your own sick pay and pension.
Many AT teachers choose to combine teaching the Technique with other, related vocations, such as in the performing arts or physical therapies, or in other professions that include helping or teaching others.
There is no question that being a successful self-employed Alexander Teacher requires more self-motivation and initiative than many paid jobs. It can take some time to establish a successful practice and in the first few years some teachers may find that they need to supplement their income by taking other work. That having been said, once established even a modest size practice of 15 lessons each week can provide a reasonable income.
Does MATTS have a particular approach to or style of training?
Yes. The general approach to training at MATTS is described in some detail on this page, especially in the section headed ‘Philosophy and Aims’.
Most Alexander Technique training courses are based on the same principles, teach similar course material and do similar practical work. However, there are always some differences between individual training courses and, additionally, there are three identifiable “streams” of training, going back to the different schools set up by Alexander’s own students. These distinctions, although important to some teachers, especially in the past, are generally considered to be of relatively small significance to most teachers nowadays. The current director of MATTS is unusual in having been influenced by all three of the major schools, having studied extensively with the three original trainers and with several of their most influential students. However, the so-called “Carrington style” of training is the one most strongly represented at MATTS.
Can I work to support myself financially during training?
Many students need to earn an income during their training, and doing so is made considerably easier by the MATTS arrangements for part-time training that allows each of our students to choose their own training schedule. Students are required to attend a minimum average over the course of each year of 50% of classes (an average of two of our four available mornings, 9 am – 1 pm, Wednesday to Saturday each week) during term time (36 weeks each year). Apart from that, students are free to choose which classes to attend.
What is it like to be an AT teacher?
The Alexander Technique is a principle, the systematic application of which leads to an increasingly profound understanding. With this comes a lifelong interest and a reliable source of inspiration and joy.
Teachers of the Alexander Technique enjoy exceptional professional freedom. We can choose our own hours of work, our location and our work-life balance. Our students are delightful and each one is different, presenting us with a stimulating challenge, embarking with us on a course of discovery that is always interesting and exciting
Ours is a relatively small profession and almost invariably vocational. Because of this, teachers are generally friendly and supportive of one-another and of trainee teachers. Even a few days’ visit to our training course will make that clear to any visitor!
It is well known that AT teachers rarely retire: nearly all of the teachers trained by Alexander were still teaching after the age of 80 and many of them after the age of 90. Many of these teachers were of “independent means” and were certainly not working for the money!
Teaching the AT is meaningful work, energising and inspiring, and keeps teachers strikingly healthy into extreme old age. And, since greater experience as a teacher almost invariably leads to greater skills, older teachers are especially sought after by the most dedicated students. And for those that need the income in later life, teaching the Technique can provide congenial work well into old age.
What is it like to be an AT trainee teacher?
Most people experience the AT training to be deeply rewarding. Training as a teacher is largely practical, with total immersion into the many benefits of the Alexander Technique. Students generally experience a growing sense of mental and physical well-being and strength, clarity of thought and balance in their lives.
We will be adding some impressions of the experience of training by our current trainees here shortly, please check back.
I have a question that is not answered here
Please feel free to contact us with any other questions you have.
Information about teacher training on the STAT website: https://alexandertechnique.co.uk/content/about-teacher-training
A page of resources about AT teacher training: https://thealexandertechnique.net/information-advice
General FAQs about AT lessons: https://www.peter-bloch.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions
General FAQs about AT lessons: https://alexandertechnique.co.uk/faq-page/101