"This whole endeavor still brings a smile to my face, joy to my heart, health to my body, stimulation to my mind and an endless field for more learning," says David Lauterstein, the 2012 Jerome Perlinski Teacher of the Year winner. Find out how David keeps his students motivated and what inspires him.
How did you first get involved in the massage therapy profession?
When I was 25, I had an identity crisis. I had just graduated college with a degree in music composition, and, though I loved it and it had been the center of my life since childhood, I began to realize I didn't want to earn a living through music. I got into counseling and the therapist recommended various books. The Massage Book by George Downing was my introduction to hands-on work. Finally, I asked myself, what could I stand doing for eight hours per day? I had only one answer: massage!
What inspired you to teach?
Honestly, it was the joy I felt when I was teaching. Almost immediately that joy was reflected by my students. The teaching environment became frequently filled with a spirit of revival and delight!
How do you keep students engaged?
1. By knowing what I'm talking about.
2. By finding the subject fascinating.
3. By caring whether students really "get it."
I feel like each class I teach is the most important class!
What tactics do you use to motivate your students?
I try to help them not lose their original impulse to learn massage/bodywork. Often, students are "educated" out of the heart-centered motivation that draws most people to massage and bodywork. They become clinicians through an excessively academic or allopathic focus or they become technicians through a scarcity of inspired and inspiring employers. I motivate students by trying to be a good example of someone who is committed to an integrated approach in bodywork and life-connecting with one's heart, as well as the body, mind and spirit.
I feel like each class I teach may be the most important class I will ever teach them. This sense of urgency and excitement is irresistible.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before going into massage therapy? Teaching?
Before going into massage therapy, it would have been thrilling to know that 35 years later I would still be as fascinated as I was on the very first day I embarked upon this career.
As far as teaching, someone did tell me early on that I would be doing a lot of re-parenting as a teacher and school owner. I thought, "that's silly - I'm not an adult yet myself!" I still have that feeling, yet it is true. Sometimes it is quite challenging trying to win over the body, mind and spirit of some challenged and challenging students. I don't really accept that we are re-parenting. But we certainly do try to influence students to ally more with their higher selves. And sometimes that is really difficult! This whole endeavor still brings a smile to my face, joy to my heart, health to my body, stimulation to my mind, and an endless field for more learning.
» David will be honored at the Teachers Networking Luncheon at the AMTA 2012 National Convention.