The Alexander Technique Teacher’s Code Of Conduct

When I converted to Orthodox Judaism, I affirmed that I would live up to its numerous demands.

When I entered Alexander Technique teacher training, I was expected to live up to AMSAT’s code of conduct.

The following part of the code tripped me up a couple of weeks ago:

B. The Teacher-Colleague Relationship

A member treats all colleagues with the respect and fairness with which the member would wish to be treated:

1. A member expresses differences of professional opinion without attacking other teachers personally or criticizing their work in a way that may undermine the confidence of the public in the profession, or otherwise reflect badly on the Alexander Technique.

2. A member takes care not to start any unfounded rumor or hearsay that might damage the reputation of another member or teacher.

On the face of it, I agree with every word of that code, but the historian in me, or the reporter in me, or the rabble-rousing blogger in me, wants to be able to write a warts-and-all history of the Technique. It seems to me that there have been various schools of the Technique and they frequently did not get along. There are various schools of the Technique today and frankly, I think they have as much tension between them as they ever did, they’re just more polite to each other on the surface.

Orthodox Judaism has strict laws about what you can say. I haven’t always lived up to these laws either. At least, I have not lived up to certain interpretations of these laws, for instance, the Chofetz Chaim’s.

So I think I’ve learned over the past two weeks that it is not permitted for an Alexander teacher to say anything publicly that could be seen as disparaging another Alexander teacher or casting Alexander work in a bad light. After all, there are only 4,000 of us Alexander teachers in the world and we should take care of each other. Most professional societies have this type of code of conduct.

Even though these rules are obvious, it is hard for me to always live up to them. I’ve worked diligently to create a life for myself where I can pretty much say what I believe. I’ve been blogging since 1997 and doing just that. Now I need to tone myself down so I never say anything that could undermine the public’s confidence in Alexander Technique.

But I’m not an Alexandroid. I’m flesh and blood. I’m terribly amused by the feuds in the Alexander world and I want to write about them dispassionately. I love reading critiques of the Technique and I don’t automatically go into defense mode where any attacks are wrong.

So what is more important to me? Being a good Alexander colleague or being a blogger?

I’m not going to pronounce here because both occupations exert a powerful pull on me. You the reader will decide which is stronger for me.

I love belonging to community and I love my personal freedom and the two are antipodes. I’ve never been willing to live long without community and I’ve never been willing to live long without freedom.

One of the things that attracted me to a career teaching Alexander Technique was that I could do it without having a boss. I could go out on my own.

I have no interest in deviating from the classical ways of teaching the Technique. I don’t know enough to risk anything here.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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