Recently several people have posted to the lists in regards to teaching their skills to the community at large. In the two main cases the results were disastrous. As someone who in the past has presented locally, and at current teaches at several of the larger national events, I’d like to offer a little bit of insight and advice based on my own experiences.
When I first moved here, I came from the NYC, NJ and Philadelphia, scenes. There were people, especially in NY and NJ who had so much experience it would never have had occurred to me to ever present. In comparison to them I was just an average joe. My first opportunity came by an unplanned incident…
I came out to a whip demo and class. I thought to myself “Great! I do use whips already, but I can always learn more.” It turned out that the presenters whips were broken, and as I was one of the only others who came with whips, I was asked to help with the demo portion. As I did some of the demo, people asked me questions, and I did my best to answer them. I think the presenter was getting a little ticked because people started asking me more stuff than they were asking him.
From there sometimes I was asked to present things locally, as I went to events, people saw my skills and were curious about them. At several points after I had done a class or two, I would invite small groups that I knew and trusted to my house to learn from me. I would post an event, and those who were interested came. (in fairness I actually had to turn people away, because I lacked the room for them). After a while I was regularly asked to teach to many of the local groups, different topics that I was skilled in, etc.
For those who aspire to teach locally, I do recommend a few steps that will help you greatly.
1) Get involved with your local groups.
People nowadays entering the lifestyle are taught in BDSM to be paranoid. As such, they will question anyone who they don’t know or comes without a chockfull of quality recommendations. If JW says “Hello, I’m Jay Wiseman and I approve of what this person has to say” will pretty much guarantee you can teach whatever you want. Otherwise get to know the people in your local group, it will make them more comfortable with you, and once they are the word will spread, and you will find others more interested in knowing who you are and what you have to say.
2) Demonstrate the skills you want to teach.
Many people have commented about certifications. The truth is there is no BDSM degree from Harvard, and even if there were, it would be bullshit because there are so many varied paths to BDSM. It is helpful to have mentored from prestigious individuals but even then that says nothing for your ability to teach. At least if you can demonstrate that you can perform the activity well, you will be much more easily accepted as an authority (though not THE authority) in said activity. The more you can be seen dong your skill, safely, confidently, and to rave reviews to those who have had it performed on them, the less you will have to rely on the credentials of others. Instead you will stand based on the true merit of your own skill.
3) Let them approach you.
This seems to be the tough one for a lot of people. There seems to be this need to show off an individual’s skill by teaching them to others. This is worsened when steps one and two have not been done. I think there is also another point that needs to be made. It can only be answered honestly by the individual who wants to teach. That question is “Why do I want to teach this?” If you have not been active with a group, or you immediately want to each any skill but even more so with an edgeplay skill, it says, “Look at me!!! I am so awesome, and this is why you should respect me!!!” It becomes an attempt by the individual to establish immediate authority and respect within a group in which the individual is not yet a member. Others pick up on that mighty fast and become cautious, and very confrontational. In all honesty if that IS your reason, you need to stop right there. If your reason to do it is to get laid more or find more play partners, stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You ARE offering to teach for the wrong reasons. If you reasons are to share a skill that you are passionate about, or to offer help to those who don’t know how to do your skill and are interested, then you are doing it for the right reasons. But if you want to share that skill with you local community it is important that you establish yourself as a member of the community, and establish your competence with your skill on its own merits, versus though the recommendation of others, or worse, what is more common, your own recommendation (which is worthless). Note: these are what I said to do in #1 and #2. When they approach you to present on your skill, you won’t have to face the confrontation because people WANT to be taught by you. As you teach more (If you do well) you will find other groups will want to hear about what you have to say. Trust me its a lot easier when others are touting your skill to the other groups.
I could go on about how to do a good presentation, but its very late, and I’m here in RI getting ready to do my own classes here at the Fetish Flea.