Reflections On Mentoring: Part 1

Recently I came across a quote from Newton that said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” It got me thinking about my foundation and the people who hoisted me up on their shoulders so that I might see further.

My mentors have played a profound role in my professional and personal development. They’ve been there to cheer me on through the prolific moments of my career and more than once, they’ve guided me back on track when I’ve lost my way. Mentors encourage us to make deeper connections, to better understand our strengths and weaknesses, and steer us towards the manifestation of our greatest potential. I think it is safe to say that none of us have achieved success, or gotten this far, entirely on our own. I know this to be true in my case.

I am lucky to count a few “giants” among those who helped shape me into the teacher I am today. My first teachers, Amy Taylor Alpers, Rachel Taylor Segel, Cara Reeser, and Debora Robinson Kolwey are responsible for my strong foundation. When I finished the teacher training program at The Pilates Center (Colorado, USA) I had dedicated the previous year and a half to embodying the method through daily practice and deepening my understanding of the how the body works. I spent hours observing and imitating them. These were my first mentors. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from them was to trust the inherent intelligence of Joe’s system.

It was made clear from the start of my training that there would always be more to learn and that years would pass before I began to fully manifest as a teacher. At that time, I was a 22-year-old dancer who had never suffered an injury, was passionate about pedagogy and idealistic about the method. Despite my lack of life experience, I thought I had it all figured out. Nevertheless, their words were not lost on me.

When I graduated from TPC and moved to New York City, my education continued. The moment I met Kathy Grant I knew I would follow her to the ends of the earth, and if she said jump, I wouldn’t hesitate.

Kathy’s influence has had a profound impact on my approach to the work and how I teach. Kathy taught by example. I have her to thank for instilling in me the curiosity to know more, the flexibility to be open-minded to the prospect of new information, and the sensitivity to be a more empathetic teacher. Kathy showed me that it was possible to teach quietly by listening and watching like a hawk before swooping down with a bunch of long winded directives.

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