Over the past few weeks/months my yoga teaching homework has been to connect with the room, i.e. the students or 'bodies' as we so fondly refer to them in teacher speak. In order to actually 'teach' a class, apposed to standing up there spewing out verbatim dialogue, you need to connect. The easiest way to do this is to say a students name. And what better way to get a name out there is to give a correction.
The next big step for a rookie teacher - step off the order of the dialogue - give a correction (still using dialogue speak) & get back on it again. It's very scary at first. Especially as I learned the dialogue by word association, linking the last word in a sentence to the next. It takes practice. (never stop learning!!) The first time I tried it I got my correction in fine & a name but then totally lost what came next in the dialogue. Totally fluffed it and said something completely weird to finish. "Get 'em out" I heard Michon's voice ring in my ears. Any which way I could!!
I've started with the postures I'm very comfortable with & those that once the students are set up correctly & in there, there is room to jiggle the words. For me it's usually the inversions. Haha, if I start to fluff the students can't see my panic stricken face! Also when they are upside down I can sneak a look at my name cheat sheet. At check in the students I don't know I try to learn their names. By writing them down no less, with a quick note of how to identify them. Like white headband, blue Lulu top, red mat etc. you get the idea. I always write down first timers, say their name once at the start to check where they are, then leave them be. Not good to be barking out newbies name first class. Then I congratulate each by name at the end for surviving. Padahasana is a good one for me to check in who's who in the first set, glancing at my sheet putting names to bodies. Unless someone needs help setting up after things kick off then that comes first.
I'm getting there slowly. My BYJ 5:45am's rock for names. Students filter in slowly so I have time to 'stalk' them and get a good look at who is who. I know most of them anyway from practicing with them for the past two years. Scarborough is a little more challenging as once they check in they're gone. The waiting areas are either upstairs or round the corner, out of sight. I teach the busy classes there so often people fly through & I don't even see them properly if I've got half an eye on the computer or writing a sale down. Answer to that, get my butt down there to practice more often. Get familiar with people by standing by them & mingling before/after class.