Do you teach for free?

Photo Credit: Loving Earth Flickr via Compfight cc

Do you work for free?

I’m not talking about volunteer work. I’m talking about using your skills in a day in/day out setting — do you do that for free?

I just saw a post today in which a university was looking for a yoga teacher to offer his/her services for free, once or twice a week, over the lunch hour.

I’ve seen other posts like this. I’ve been approached to teach for free. I’m also a writer and have been asked for free services over the years. Other artists I know have similar stories.

For a while, I would do writing gigs for free, to gain “experience.” If you are just starting out, this can be a legitimate choice. But I know I continued to work for “experience” long after I should have. Only when I gained more confidence in myself and my skills did I feel comfortable asking for payment.

Artists, writers, yoga teachers, etc., have spent hours on their craft and likely have gone through some type of training (school, teacher training, etc.,) that probably was not inexpensive.

When there isn’t a value attached to your profession, it’s easy to feel devalued as a person.

As a community, we can help each other by pushing back and asking questions.

  • If someone asks us to spread the word that they are looking for a free yoga teacher, simply ask why first.
  • Ask if there can be some type of payment or barter attached, explaining that yoga teachers have gone through training and should be compensated for their experience.
  • It may be perfectly reasonable that they want free services, but it’s our duty to inquire first.

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