I’ve been an aromatherapy educator since the early 1970s, and I’ve seen the field undergo many changes. With the introduction of the internet and multi-level-marketing companies, I’ve witnessed both good and bad information circulate rapidly to new generations of users.
There’s so much possibility for misunderstanding when it comes to the power of natural essential oils—which makes quality aromatherapy education more important than ever.
If you’re interested in teaching aromatherapy, here are some tips from a vintage educator. Take them as you will!
1. Know your subject. Study with as many teachers as you can and absorb different styles, viewpoints, and experiences. But always examine information with a critical eye—consider the sources and never hesitate to do your own research. As an aromatherapy educator, I work to provide useful, factual and cited information, but I never mind if a student has questions or does research outside of what I teach. In fact, you can strengthen your aromatherapy education by knowing which questions to ask during a live class.
2. Apprentice with established institutes. Instead of trying to start from scratch yourself, look for apprenticeships and positions where you can add onto educational programs that established teachers have already created. For instance, Atlantic Institute of Aromatherapy sometimes calls on its own students to teach in their areas to increase our educational reach. As these student-teachers improve, they feel comfortable teaching larger classes and mentoring homes-study students. Beginning as an apprentice or teaching assistant and working your way up can be a great way to establish yourself as an aromatherapy educator.
3. Get comfortable with teaching. Students can often teach you just as much as other educators. Knowing the subject is one thing, but thinking on your feet when students ask unexpected questions is another. Being comfortable in front of a group of people is also a skill that needs honing, and teaching can help you discover your own unique educational style.
4. Know how to relax. Being an educator, especially in an unregulated and relatively new field, can be as stressful as it is rewarding. I rely on morning walks, meditation, gardening or being in nature to relax, center and energize me. I keep my office and therapy rooms scented with my standby Rosemary and Geranium. I’ve used this aromatherapy blend for 30 years, and it feels like home to me. Know how to establish a relaxing space and find activities that will help relieve the pressure. Trust me—you’ll need these skills!
5: And remember: teaching is learning. Have a wonderful journey, and enjoy it!