Your Teaching and Learning Style
Things to think about before getting started
Teaching is a complicated skill, and something you will have to develop over time. However, there are a few simple principles to use as a starting point for your teaching journey. The acronym for these principles is COACH
Circus is a careful balancing act between apparent risk and reasonable safety precautions
Practice of Coaching
This section builds on coaching theory to develop a complete picture of what’s involved in being a circus trainer
Terminology: This course is not an education degree, and you’ll like be exposing yourself to a whole bunch of legal implications if you use the term “circus teacher”. Trainer is fine.
Working With Children Check: In NSW, Australia, if you are any way dealing with children, you need to have a WWCCheck number. It’s valid for 5 years, and currently costs $80 for paid positions or free for volutunteers, more information available from Service NSW. If you live elsewhere it’s worth looking into the legal requirements of your state or country.
Insurance: You will need to be covered by public liability insurance for your work as a trainer, so make sure you hold your own policy (up to $20 million is standard) or are covered by the organisation you work for. AON and Duck for Cover are the two main providers for individual trainers and performers in Australia, but make sure you do the research to find the best policy for you.
First Aid: As mentioned in the safety section, a good working knowledge of first aid is invaluable to a circus trainer, even if the best case scenario is never needing to call on your knowledge. In Australia the basic course is currently called Provide First Aid, and needs to be renewed every 3 years.
Subcontractors & Employees: You’ll need to know whether you’re a subcontractor or an employee of the organisation, and your legal obligations will vary accordingly. According to the ATO, “An employee works in your business and is part of your business. A contractor is running their own business.”
- If you are a subcontractor: you will need an Australian Business Number (more information) or a statement by supplier (more information). You generally send an invoice for work done and aren’t usually entitled to superannuation
- If you are an employee: you will need to supply your Tax File Number (more information) & superannuation details and collect a payslip
These are very basic guidelines, please check further details with your employer. If signing a contract, make sure you read and understand all terms. If you progress to working for yourself, your obligations will be similar to that of a subcontractor, and you’ll likely end up working as a subcontractor to others at times
Working for an organisation: When working for an organisation, you’re representing them, and are obliged to follow any policies they may have in place about presentation when working. It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding about how they operate (e.g. do they offer parties, classes, workshops etc) and have their business cards when you go out to do a job, in case someone asks you for more information. It’s considered bad etiquette, and in many cases a breach of contract to provide your personal business card, as any resulting enquiries should go through the company that got the original job, however you can always write your name on the card so you can be requested for any future work.
Checklist of things you should have or look into before starting work:
- ABN/TFN/Statement by supplier
- Public Liability Insurance (yours or studios)
- Senior first aid