I love this question, because it makes me muse on things I have not thought about very much for a long time.
I started teaching in the late 1980s…. not long after the IDEA foundation, as it was called then, started. I believe when I decided to take the ACE certification I used the first edition of that manual. A lot has changed since then. Nationally certified instructors were not the norm as I recall…I remember seeing an ad in an industry paper with instructions on building your own wooden bench for step aerobics…. and in yoga…. well, the YogaAlliance did not exist, and I can remember conversations with club owners regarding health regulations and the necessity of wearing shoes….
The percentage of well trained and educated and certified instructors is so much higher now. You see less recruitment of students who ‘dance well’ to take a few lessons with the head instructor/trainer and go off to teach a class. So the ‘expertise’ part…. that starts with the knowledge that comes from training, and is demonstrated through certification. Confidence though, is built on the knowledge of ones skills, but is tempered through experience, and that takes time.
The thing is it isa a balance…. you need experience…. training programs with a mentoring piece, and the chance to team teach, or teach other instructors is a great way to go I think. Not only does it give one the chance to be in front of others, but it gives one a chance to be in front of others who can give professional feedback, and who are not going to get hurt if you make a mistake.
But you also need the education… If work in this field is truly a profession, there have to be standards of what knowledge base is required. Anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, music phrasing and choreography, basic interpersonal tools: how to motivate, how to communicate.
Very few, even of the most certified and educated, will not feel a little nervous the first time out. I remember looking out at a room full of faces, and the thing that struck me, and I still remember is amazement as they followed exactly what I was showing them. I determined that day that I would not abuse that trust, but would do my best not to take shortcuts, or go for the easy money, but to be the safest and most effective teacher I could be.
So I think I would say that education and certification are the foundation. Once you have that you find a way to begin. Over time and with practice you will become more comfortable with your teaching. But the bond of trust is the glue that holds it all together.
Thank you for the question.