Sarah practising a new move during a break in class.
I've written before about my love of teaching hoopdance. I find teaching deeply satisfying. I love the delight and astonishment on a new student's face when she realises she can get that hoop spinning around her waist. I love the laughing and joking that accompanies my intermediate class. Some of my students have become good friends.
But I've realised I've fallen into what must be a common trap for teachers of all stripes: my teaching is threatening to swamp my own practice.
It seems like a long time since I had an intense hoop session on my own - so much of my hoop time now is taken up with teaching, or preparing for classes. [I've also started making and selling my own hoops, but more on that another day.] This term, I have classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and the past few weeks I've also had Saturday morning classes. This wouldn't be so bad if I was hooping full-time. But I'm not. I have a full-time job and a family who also need my time and energy.
I could, I suppose, allow myself to focus solely on my teaching, but I don't want to do that. It's important but it's more important that I keep my own practice going. I began hooping for the love of it, and it will always be my first love. Besides, how can I expect my students to learn and grow if I'm not learning and growing myself?
I've decided to cut back one class next term. And I'm saving up to rejoin the gym - having a dedicated space in which to concentrate solely on hooping was fantastic for me last year. I'm also fitting in practice where and when I can. I've started going to my classes half an hour early so I can practise before my students arrive. Sometimes I hoop while I'm watching television. Every little bit helps.