by Rebecca Tuffey
As a student of the Alexander Technique, I thought my teacher was a magician. She said some thought-provoking words, put her hands on me, and - voila!- I grew taller, lighter, and more free. One day, she said, “You would make a good Alexander Technique teacher. Why don’t you consider training?” I thought the idea was preposterous. She was the magic-maker; me? I was an actress. I pushed the idea away, fully contented with my weekly lessons. Like most skilled Alexander teachers, she wasn’t forceful or pushy, but kept presenting the idea as a perfectly viable possibility. She had already been teaching for twenty years. “I’ve never been bored. Each lesson is something different”. Hmmm, that intrigued me.
Then, the day came, when I realized that life as an actress was not what I had imagined it to be. I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the next twenty-some years. Six years of Alexander Technique lessons had taught me not to rush impulsively into transition. So I gave myself time and permission to consider what might come next. It was a year before I had “career clarity.” I wanted to work with bodies, be able to make real connections with individual people, and contribute something practical and helpful. A list of potential careers was made. At the bottom—but the one that sang to me—was “Alexander Technique Teacher.”
Discovering the American Center for the Alexander Technique
My teacher had trained at ACAT (the American Center for the Alexander Technique). She gave me a list of training programs, and I visited some courses. The day I visited the ACAT TCP (Teacher Certification Program), I found two skilled teachers leading a three hour class about “monkey”. The room was dynamic and quiet at the same time. There was some group discussion, and then the group separated for “turns”. I noticed that the teachers were both very engaged with the students and the process, and yet were working quite uniquely. There were no “cookie cutter” lessons being offered. This must have been what my teacher meant when she said “each lesson is something different”. I was inspired.
Life as an Alexander Technique Teacher
I was certified by ACAT to teach the Alexander Technique three years later, along with three others who began training at the same time as me. I have been teaching for almost eleven years now, and I consider my time on the ACAT TCP to be one of the most formative of my life. I found a rich community, a dedicated faculty of highly skilled teachers, an intimate environment to explore myself within, a loving and meticulous connection to the legacy of F.M. Alexander, and (most days) a lot of fun.
Teaching speaks to the creative spirit in me. Occasionally people ask if I miss acting. I don’t. As an actress, I enjoyed exploring different characters and their stories. As an Alexander Technique teacher, I get to explore human patterns (of body, mind, and spirit) from the unique point-of-view of each student who walks in my door. And…we don’t need to audition. We don’t need an audience. We show up for each other and explore doing something different with our lives.
Teachers: let’s inspire the next generation of Alexander Technique teachers. Tell your story in the comments section.
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[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.acatnyc.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/tuffey.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]REBECCA TUFFEY graduated from the American Center for the Alexander Technique in June 2004. She is an Art of Breathing Instructor (2010) and holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Rebecca has a multi-dimensional private practice, teaching the Alexander Technique to students ages 9 to 102. She currently serves as an Associate Faculty member on the ACAT TCP and as an Adjunct at Pace University in the B.F.A. for Acting in Film, Television, Voice-overs & Commercials. She can be found online at RebeccaTuffey.net.[/author_info] [/author]