Peace at Hand's Healing Blog

So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

Posted on July 27, 2010 in: Musings - Tags: teaching

Yesterday was the last day of class for the term at PMTI, and my students, who will graduate on Saturday, planned a closure ceremony.  They all had a chance to speak about their experience over the past 18 months, and laugh and cry together as a full group one last time.

They have all taken their final exam.  I spent most of last Monday on the massage table, being worked on by four of my students.  When I was finished, I had a chance to speak with the other instructors who evaulated the finals.  Across the board, we were impressed, both by the quality of work and by how much our students had grown since the begining of the semester.  They have each found an individual way to express the work, and they all have big plans for what they want to do with it.

Massage training, especially the way PMTI structures it, is a process.  In my experience, both as a student and as an instructor, there is no way to understand the process until you go through it.  Nothing that anyone might say really means anything until you experience it first hand.  During our closing circle yesterday, one of the students said something like, "When I started here, I didn't know what I was in for.  I thought massage school was going to be muscles on charts.  Its not."

He couldn't have been more right.  The process seems to be laid out on paper.  Students know when their classes will be held, when assignments are due, what books they need to read.  They understand, intelectually, the process of learning.  Massage school, however, isn't just an intellectual process.  There is something about touching and being touched, about learning how to hold space and "listening" to tissue that shapes a person in a unique and unexpected way, and in a way that (I believe) is impossible to really prepare for.

I am so proud of my students.  Every one of them has struggled through a process that is not easy--juggling families, full time jobs, studying, and all of the emotional Stuff that comes up during such a deeply kinesthetic, often esoteric, experience.  I'm proud of the way that they have grown, I'm proud of the way they supported one another through the process, and I'm proud of the work that they will be doing.  I am also deeply, deeply inspired by having watched them touch and care and be.

Soon, I will be able to call this fabulous group of massage therapists my colleagues, and I could not be more excited.  They're going to do amazing things.