This is the seventh installment in a series where I share my experience taking the Being Tea Teacher Training offered by Suzette Hammond. A seven-month-long course sounded very intimidating before I first began, but time has really flown quickly. This module marks the end of my individual sessions with Suzette.
I’ve gotten some messages asking about the purpose of this course. Unlike other tea education platforms, like World Tea Academy, it is not a certification program. The Tea Teacher Training is more for self-development and skill-building. Suzette uses her experience as a tea educator to serve as a coach for students. We also gain a support system of fellow tea educators that continues after the course has been completed.
Module 7: Self-Care & Creating a Personal Practice
This section of the course focused on taking care of ourselves to prevent burnout. Even when the subject is something fun like tea, it’s important to consciously take steps to ensure that we are the best teacher we can be. That can mean something different for everyone, but I was happy to see Suzette include this aspect in the course. Having been writing about tea for over a decade, I have definitely experienced burnout before. It’s really important for me to learn about and enjoy tea for its own sake without putting any expectations on that.
We were asked to sign a self-care waiver stating that we would commit to a regular tea practice of 10 min a day/1 hour week. That is something that I’ve meant to do for a long time but somehow putting it in writing makes it feel like I am being held accountable.
While being a tea educator is not subject to the same systemic stress, we still serve a dynamic range of student needs that require balancing against our own needs. And if teaching is something you feel particularly drawn to personally (versus something that is required of you by an employer), you may be extra sensitive to the weight of being a steward for the care and experience of other people.Suzette Hammond, Being Tea
We also discussed imposter syndrome, scarcity mentality, and the importance of valuing your work. The tea industry is still quite small and compensating the work of writers and educators is not yet normalized. This is something that I have personally struggled with quite a bit so it was helpful to get Suzette’s perspectives.
I am a bit sad to have these modules come to an end. It has been a challenging journey that has definitely helped me grow and improve as a tea educator. The good news is that Being Tea offers a graduate-level alumni community. This includes regular meet-ups for discussions and community support, plus ongoing general education classes and events
The next step for graduation is for me to teach my practice classes. One is required to be a Tea 101, but the other can be on any tea topic that I choose. I’ll be sure to follow up with one last wrap-up blog post once they have been completed.