by Mary Lewis, Reiki Master Teacher
While a quality Reiki Master Teacher class will provide the basic tools for you to become a successful Reiki instructor, no one is fully prepared to teach immediately after completion of their certification. Preparing a quality class involves thought, inner guidance, preparation—and sometimes, personal growth work—in the interim.
There is no “correct” time frame, however, in which to wait and prepare. Each individual must follow his/her own guidance and senses of integrity and purpose. Also, the universal energy usually has a way of providing us with fairly clear signals of when it is our time to begin.
This may occur by people approaching us and requesting training before we have formally offered a class. The old saying “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” also is true in reverse. When the teacher is ready, the students will begin to appear. This may come to us as a surprise, or it may follow soon after we begin to intuitively sense that the time is approaching.
The universe also has a way of taking care of us. If we prepare and advertise a class before we are fully ready, it is possible that the class will simply not draw participants. This doesn’t mean that we made a “mistake”. It is more likely that the time is getting near and we were being put “on notice” to begin preparing and to learn something from this experience.
Gain Practice Experience: Although we certainly will continue to learn for the duration of our Reiki practice and teaching, I feel very strongly that we should gain considerable experience in reading the energy body and practicing Reiki on many different subjects before we attempt to teach it.
It is easy to repeat the philosophy, historical background, and theories we were taught, but our students deserve, and will gain most, from a teacher who can share a wide range of first-hand personal experiences.
You will energetically attract the students who are most compatible with your particular teaching style and abilities, and whose spiritual essence most resonates with your particular gifts and experiences. Giving yourself time to develop and know your strengths and gifts, and to better understand your challenges, will increase your confidence and guide you in the best way to structure and promote your classes.
Compatibility And Timing: Sharing energy is very personal, and compatibility is key to a positive class experience for everyone. Expect prospective students to ask questions about your background, training, experience and philosophies. Some may want to meet you or to receive a session from you prior to choosing your class.
Don’t be offended or take it personally if a prospect decides he/she would rather study with someone else, or if someone takes one class from you and another class level elsewhere. Many factors contribute to a student’s choices that often bear no reflection on your abilities, competence, or the quality of your classes. Help empower others by encouraging prospective Reiki students to honor their intuition, feelings and preferences.
None of us is here to serve everyone, and there are enough students for all teachers. If someone has needs you cannot serve, be open and willing to refer that person to someone else if possible. If you sincerely have a desire to serve beyond the sight range of your own immediate tangible benefit, you will receive abundance far exceeding the registration fee from that student.
Honor your own inner guidance in assisting prospective students with choosing classes. Those who are just beginning to learn about energy or spiritual development may need your guidance to better understand what is involved, what a class may be like, or in choosing the time frame for their classes. Be patient and compassionate and assist them to the best of your ability.
If you strongly sense that someone would be served best by slowing their pace, or that they would benefit from some healing or personal growth work prior to taking a class, it is appropriate to provide this kind of information for them to consider in making their choices.
Honor Your Students And Other Teachers: Reiki is about sharing energy from the heart and fully respecting all individuals as they are in the moment. It is imperative that you respect your students at all times and that you provide an emotionally (as well as physically) safe environment for them to learn and expand.
Remember that when you are teaching, your students look to you as a mentor and example of what it means to live the Reiki Principles. Honor your students and be One with them, knowing that they also are there for you in as meaningful a way as you are there for them. The questions, experiences and energy they bring to the classroom are teaching you as well.
Be sensitive to the personal boundaries, feelings, and needs of each person. Encourage them; positively focus on their personal gifts; guide them gently and lovingly in how to expand and strengthen their abilities.
Also, serve as an example of the spirit of Oneness by showing respect for all Reiki lineages, forms, and teachers. Don’t allow yourself to be drawn into discussions that promote judgment or criticism of other instructors. If someone poses a question or comment based on an unpleasant experience they had with another teacher or practitioner, use this opportunity to positively illustrate how to handle things through the true spirit of Reiki.
Organizing Your Classes: Before you teach your first class, you will have several decisions and preparations to make. How will you charge? What materials will you use? What will you include? Where will you teach, and how often? How will you attract students?
Materials and Content: I have seen Reiki class materials range from a few photocopied handouts to full manuals. Some teachers prefer to develop their own manuals, while some purchase materials for their students from other teachers or organizations such as the International Center for Reiki Training.
Your choice in this may be influenced by your abilities to write and organize information as well as what information you feel is important to include in your classes.
Whatever your choices, keep in mind that good reference materials will be important to your students as they begin to practice and integrate what they learned in class.
If you choose to create your own manual, know to the best of your ability the sources of your materials and be aware of your responsibilities regarding copyright laws.
Class Length: I have seen individual class levels range from four hours to three days. You will have to decide what feels most appropriate in relationship to your content and teaching strategies. Experiment, and continue to refine things after you have an opportunity see how your plan works in practical application.
Prepare an outline with key points and a logical flow of information and exercises; but during class, stay in the moment, be flexible, and let your inner guidance direct you. Don’t feel that you must stick to a rigid time schedule. Let the Reiki energy and a connection with the energy of your students flow through you and guide you just as you would do in a therapeutic session.
No two classes are ever the same. The more you can flow with the characteristics, needs and experiences of your respective students, the more genuine and meaningful your classes will be.
Keep in mind that Reiki is experiential and can only be learned and integrated through adequate practice. Your students need time to understand both the “bookwork” (background, foundation and philosophy) of Reiki, and the feeling and experience of using it.
I feel that the average ratio should be at least 50% experiential for Level 1 and at least 75% experiential for Levels 2 and 3.
Fees: Many new teachers initially struggle with the issue of fees, and this is an area where any unhealed personal issues, old belief systems, or imbalances can arise very quickly.
There seems to be a fairly standard fee range among professionals who have chosen therapeutic practice and teaching as their primary source of livelihood. Information on the general range for your locale can be obtained by looking at the ads or websites of other teachers in your area and by talking with others in your Reiki community.
As you make your choices, strive to do so from a state of inner balance at all levels. I recommend that you closely examine your true motivations and attempt to discern whether you are being influenced by personal issues that still may need healing.
Offering individual scholarships or special opportunities for friends, family, or those truly in need reflects balance within, and serves the Reiki principles. I believe, however, that routine general public offering of classes priced far below the norm dishonors both Reiki teachers and the value of Reiki. It is very likely that such choices may be reflecting fear, competition, self-worth/self-confidence issues, or a misguided sense of need to serve everyone. Likewise, classes priced far above the norm may indicate another set of personal issues.
Whether or not you depend on Reiki for your primary income, take the time and do the planning to develop a quality class, and reflect this fairly in your compensation. This will honor you, honor Reiki, and maintain a public perception of your professionalism and Reiki’s true value.
Student Support: It will be common for your students to have questions or issues arise after they have completed your class. You should be available to support and encourage them within reasonable bounds as they integrate and practice what they have learned.
General Management: The way you deal with prospective students who inquire about your classes, as well as how you deal with them during and following class, can greatly contribute to building your reputation as a Reiki teacher in your community.
Practitioners and teachers have a responsibility to represent Reiki honestly and professionally at all times. Brochures, flyers and promotional materials should not sensationalize, make misleading claims or guarantees, nor make derogatory implications toward other lineages or practices.
When promoting classes and services, it is your responsibility to provide enough information about your content, materials, philosophies, fees and professional qualifications for prospective students and clients to make informed choices.
At the minimum, the following information should be made available to prospective students: clear written information about the content of each class; full disclosure regarding all fees and what they include; policies on cancellations and refunds; the length of class time.
If your students send in registration forms and payments, provide them with prompt confirmation of their place in the class and of your receipt of their payment. If you collect deposits with a final balance due, include in your confirmation a statement of the amount received, the amount due, and when it is due.
Anticipate your students’ needs and make sure they are provided with written information on the time and location of the class and anything they should know or do to be prepared for the day of class.
Also, let them know how they can reach you the night before and on the morning of class if necessary. Don’t assume that they will have this from a previous source such as a promotional flyer. Include it in your confirmation of their registration.
It also is a good idea to specifically ask each student how they would like their name printed on their Reiki certificate. Some people, particularly those in professional practices, like to include a middle initial or full name that they may not have used on their registration material.
In Summary: Teaching Reiki is a deeply rewarding experience and greatly adds to health improvement and human consciousness on the planet. If you have been getting the sense that it is time to teach but have hesitated out of fear or lack of confidence, use Reiki to help you overcome those issues and begin. You will be glad you did.