Alexander Technique Teacher

The Job and What's Involved

Alexander Technique teachers help people to:

Improve their balance and co-ordination
Reduce unnecessary tension in everyday activity
Restore a sense of well-being

Using the technique developed by the Australian, FM Alexander, they show their pupils how to improve their postural and positional habits, with particular emphasis on the relationship between the head, neck and back. They encourage pupils to change their mental approach too, helping them become more alert, poised and self-confident.

Alexander Technique teachers may help pupils with a range of conditions, including:

Back, neck and shoulder problems
Aches and pains
Breathing and voice disorders
Stress-related conditions
Digestive problems
Problems with movement or co-ordination
Recovery from injury or surgery
Parkinson's disease
Chronic fatigue syndrome

They also work with people who want to improve their performance in sport or the performing arts or increase their level of self-awareness.

Teachers are likely to:

  • Discuss the pupil's particular condition and lifestyle.
  • Observe and demonstrate pupils' postural difficulties, perhaps using a mirror.
  • Use their hands to sense and raise pupils' awareness of unnecessary tensions in the body during activity and while the pupil is in a lying position.
  • Talk and use their hands to guide the pupil through basic activities, such as sitting, standing and walking with improved posture.
  • Explain the Alexander Technique, relating it to the pupil's circumstances.
  • Encourage pupils to take time to be more conscious of how they move.
  • Use models or charts to illustrate the effects of movement on the body.
  • Instruct pupils in the use of the Alexander position (lying on the back with the head supported and knees bent).

Lessons usually last for 30 to 45 minutes. They may be carried out weekly or more frequently, depending on the client's needs. For best effect, pupils often need 20 or 30 lessons.

Alexander Technique teachers are likely to work flexible hours, perhaps including evening and weekend sessions. The vast majority of teachers are self-employed, so they can work part time if desired.

They may practice from their own premises, drama schools, music academies and therapy centres or occasionally in pupils' homes.

Alexander Technique teachers need to be physically fit. Lessons may involve standing and bending.

Alexander Technique teachers usually charge from £30 to £50 per session, although this varies according to location and experience. They may also have considerable expenses to cover, for instance, premises and indemnity insurance.

A new teacher might earn around £15,000 a year. With experience, earnings might rise to £22,000. A teacher with an established practice may earn up to £60,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are around 900 Alexander Technique teachers in the UK. Opportunities are increasing as interest grows in the technique.

Self-employed Alexander Technique teachers are based in all parts of the UK. The success of a practice may depend on the size of the local population and on the level of competition from other practitioners.

Opportunities for permanent employment are restricted, as most Alexander Technique teachers are self-employed.

Education and Training

Three professional organisations run or approve introductory foundation and practitioner training courses for Alexander Technique teachers:

The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT), which approves 17 three-year training courses in England. Total course fees average £12,000, usually payable in instalments each term. Successful students receive a certificate on completion of an approved course and the Society's authorisation to teach the Alexander Technique. Qualifying students are eligible to apply for ordinary (teaching) membership of STAT.

Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT) runs a four-year part-time training course in Birmingham. Applicants must complete the PAAT Recreational Course, offered in 12 weekly sessions each lasting two hours. All Recreational Course applicants must have attended private lessons in the Alexander Technique for at least a year prior to entry or be recommended by a teaching member of PAAT. Fees for the four-year course, excluding Recreational Course, are currently £9,600 (£800 a term).

Interactive Teaching Method Association (ITM) runs a four-year part-time course at Trinity College, Bristol. Classes are held over 50 weekends, usually once a month. The first 18 months provides general foundation knowledge and is open to everyone and, on successful completion, leads to the Basic Proficiency Certificate. Successful completion of the remaining part of the course qualifies students to take the teacher certification examinations, leading to professional membership of ITM. Total course fees are £11,000 (£220 per weekend).

There are no academic entry qualifications for these courses, although applicants need to show a commitment to learning the technique.

Courses generally cover:

The study of Alexander's writings and related theory
Basic anatomy and physiology
Human movement studies
Practical demonstrations and hands-on skills

They also cover self-employment to some extent, but further training in running a business may be helpful.

STAT, PAAT, ITM and various further education colleges across the country offer short courses on the Alexander Technique for those wishing to discover more about it.

Previous experience in a related role such as training, counseling, healthcare and medicine may be useful preparation but is not essential. An understanding of biology, anatomy and physiology can also be helpful.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Upon completion of training, students can register as a practicing member. Membership of STAT or PAAT gives access to a range of continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities.

Starting in October 2009, Alexander Technique teachers can voluntarily register with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council to enhance their professional credibility with the public.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An Alexander Technique teacher should:

  • Have good manual dexterity and supple hands.
  • Relate well to all kinds of people.
  • Be a good listener and observer.
  • Inspire trust and confidence.
  • Motivate people to change their habits.
  • Be sensitive to people's individual circumstances and needs.
  • Explain things in easily understood terms.
  • Be emotionally robust.
  • Know when to refer pupils to other health professionals.
  • Be energetic and committed enough to promote and build their own practice.

Your Long Term Prospects

Most practitioners concentrate on developing their own business and establishing a solid reputation. It may be necessary at the outset to work alongside other complementary therapy practitioners at a natural health clinic.

Once experienced, they may be opportunities to train other Alexander Technique teachers. The prospects of working abroad are also good.

Get Further Information

Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC),
83 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0HW
Tel: 0203 178 2199
Website: www.cnhc.org.uk

The Interactive Teaching Method Association (ITM)
Website: www.alexandertechnique-itm.org

The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health,
PO Box 65104, London SW1P 9PJ
Tel: 020 7024 5755
Website: www.fih.org.uk

Professional Association of Alexander Teachers (PAAT),
Room 706, 'The Big Peg', 120 Vyse Street, Birmingham B18 6NF
Tel: 01743 356274
Website: www.paat.org.uk

Skills for Health, 2nd Floor, Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 922 1155
Website: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk

The Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT),
1st Floor, Linton House, 39-51 Highgate Road, London NW5 1RS
Tel: 0207 482 5135
Website: www.stat.org.uk

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