We asked nail school instructors and owners to let us in on the most challenging aspects of their jobs and their least favorite subjects to teach.
I dislike orientation; most people come in with preconceived notions on what nail school is going to be like, so there can be some tense moments. The students have a lot of questions, and I’m just hoping that I’m giving all the information in a cohesive way that each individual can understand. I try to be prepared the day prior, making sure I have all the students’ folders ready, and a lot of Post-its for reminders. Eventually, it all works out and both the students and I get through it. My least favorite aspect of teaching is dealing with drama. Dealing with adult learners can be quite interesting. Defensiveness, like “the world is out to get them” type of attitude, can be challenging.
Jessica Taylor, Honolulu Nail Academy, Honolulu
The most challenging part is making sure that I get in enough practice time to keep my skills up. I take classes whenever possible. Unfortunately, most of the classes I want to take are during show season, so it can be a real challenge to coordinate my schedule with available classes.
Danielle Candido, Hand & Nail Harmony Educator
The hardest part of any instructor’s life is teaching an old dog new tricks! No matter how much you try, those students find some way of putting up a road block for themselves, which ultimately hinders their growth.
Mekisha Banks, Body Pro Beauty, Toronto, Canada.
I think the hardest part for me [when I was teaching at Aveda Institute of Beauty and Wellness] was having a student who didn’t have a passion for nails or the industry. I was always curious why they decided to take the program if it wasn’t something they planned on making their career.
Tracy Conley Balistreri, private instructor, Milwaukee, Wis.
The most challenging aspect of teaching nail care would be undoing bad habits. The bad habits include no sanitation procedures, incorrect application procedures, and the use of non-professional products. Once my students complete a thorough assessment of health and safety practices, I help them overcome bad habits by requiring the practice of sanitation and disinfection for every procedure performed. My students are exposed to professional products through student-lead research of select companies, and our school district provides quality products for classroom instruction. Each student is encouraged to buy her own professional acrylic brush, which facilitates the learning of the maintaining salon tools objective. Each student is exposed to video instruction, classroom instruction, and regular practice with a professional rubric for all areas of nail care.
Dorothy House, Metropolitan (Little Rock School District), Little Rock, Ark.
My least favorite aspect of teaching is when students feel defeated and disappointed that they are not good enough. Everyone learns differently and at a different pace. That’s the reason our classes are small and attention is individualized.
Sindy Mark, The Nail Art Academy, San Francisco
One of our school’s greatest challenges is keeping instructors. We pay very well, far above what the average school pays, and we work closely with our instructors allowing them to pick hours and days that work for them. So you might wonder, what’s the problem? I believe that a lot of it is the fact that teaching can be very taxing. You need a lot of patience working with lots of people who are all uniquely different, with different needs and expectations. Burnout is a real concern, so it is essential that our instructors have good conflict resolution skills, good boundaries, and can manage their class. The last thing you want is for your class to manage you.
Georgianna Halverson, Elite Nail School, Madison, Wis.
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