This is the fourth installment in a series where I share my experience taking the teacher training course offered by Suzette Hammond of Being Tea. My tea journey has taken me in many directions over the years, and an educator’s role seems to be where I am headed next. Although I have some experience with training and teaching groups, I felt that this course would strengthen and hone that skill set.
Module 4: Structure & Time: “Stacking your show”
Time management can be one of the most challenging aspects of teaching. There’s nothing worse than awkward silence when you run shorter than you thought you would or that rushed feeling when things feel out of control.
This module focused on managing time flexibly to make sure that we are giving our students the best experience possible. Suzette brought her background as a live television producer and related it to how we put together our classes. She also compared it to the experience of participating in a Japanese tea ceremony.
An often-shared impression from attending tea service in a Japanese tearoom (chaji or chakai, in Japanese tradition) is how time seems to slow down, to the point where it is almost no longer present at all.
From how one enters the space, to the time they thank their host and exit, the experience is intentionally designed to allow present moment awareness to be at the forefront. Hours pass, but not with the same feelings of awareness that we are used to. This allows for greater absorption of the experience for the participant and host alike.Suzette Hammond
This module of Being Tea Teacher Training was nothing short of a revelation for me. Changing my mindset about time immediately made me feel a lot less nervous about teaching. Thinking of every aspect of the class as something that can be added or dropped as needed takes a ton of pressure off.
The workbook wrapped up with finding our producer’s voice and some tips on establishing our personal flow. I really loved this section was all about figuring out what works best for you. Every teacher is different, and there is not a one size fits all solution.
The group session took a look back at some of the concepts from module 3, particularly holding and maintaining space for our students. One of the most valuable aspects of the Being Tea Teacher Training has been having a supportive group of wonderful people sharing this journey. I’ve learned so much from the other students in my cohort. My private session with Suzette was filled with a lot of great information about some of the finer points of forming a lesson plan.
One of my favorite parts of this program is getting to attend the classes taught my other students. Stephanie led an amazing tea and mindfulness course for her capstone. I am not normally very ‘spiritual’ in my tea drinking but it was a great experience.
For those who regularly subscribe to Suzette’s educational tea content, you may have noticed that memberships have recently moved to her website. Patreon is now being used to fund scholarships for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ professionals. If you’d like a worthy cause to donate to, that is definitely one to consider.
The homework for this module is to build a lesson plan for a Tea 101 class. Easier said than done but I definitely feel much more equipped now that I have some of this course under my belt.