I take a weekly practice class with my main Iyengar teacher, a highly regarded “teacher’s teacher.” Today she was out of town; thus a sub (Iyengar-certified, Intermediate Junior I) taught her class. In general, students are disappointed when there’s a sub. Experienced students, especially, are picky and want to spend time and money only on their chosen teachers.
As we prepped on our own before class, a fellow student (who’s a teacher herself) entered the studio, noticed that something was different, and asked whether our teacher was teaching today. The sub overhead and explained the situation. The inquiring student proceeded to leave.
I found this behavior closed minded. And presumptuous. And astoundingly rude.
First, one can learn from all decent teachers (and my teacher carefully chooses her subs). Sure, we have our favorites. Sure, we might not choose ongoing study with a sub but, for a single class, there is real benefit in working with another teacher.
I admit that I’ve skipped subbed classes (announced in advance) or been dissatisfied by subs many times over the years. When I began teaching, however, I grew more open to different faces and voices, ideas and experiences.
Second, it doesn’t matter if one is also a teacher. (In fact, this class is rife with teachers, many who chose to attend today’s class.) If one considers a sub a mere peer with nothing worthy to teach, one is forgetting that it’s informative to observe a variety of teachers.
Also, shouldn’t teachers show support for their peers? I can be as critical as they come, but as a teacher I’ve also become more empathetic toward other teachers.
Third (and most egregious), to leave after being noticed is just plain rude. One might have strong personal reasons for wanting to study only with a particular teacher. But that doesn’t trump common courtesy. Even a child would know this. I was flabbergasted that someone would actually walk out like that! The gall. This goes beyond yoga or classes or likes and dislikes. This is simply “bad form.”
Humans never cease to amaze me.