Published: Tuesday 06 December 2016

This Student Spotlight sees us meeting Suzie Hawker who manages a nursery in Worthing, as well as teaches infant massage in her home town of Shoreham-by-Sea. She initially learnt to teach baby massage with To Baby and Beyond to develop her skills as a nursery worker, but then realised she wanted to learn and teach for the love of it!

Name: Suzie Hawker
Lives: Shoreham by Sea
What do you teach? Infant massage
How long have you been an instructor? One year
What made you want to become an instructor? Initially it was to support my personal development and benefit the nursery I was manager of. However once I started training I realised it was something I wanted to focus on completely.
Have you always been an instructor? No I am a nursery nurse and have worked in day nurseries for most of my career and have managed a large setting in Worthing for the last six years.
What’s your favourite part of your job? I love supporting new parents; at the start of every course I explain that whilst I teach I also will happily use my experience to support and advise on anything related to early parenting. It has made for some great conversations at the end of a class.
How do you keep your skills up to date? I will often refer to my manual but as I am still newly trained I do not yet feel the need to specifically update my skills. However I have found that by reflecting on every class I run I learn and improve.
Do you have any favourite websites that you use? Not specifically although I do read the information that To Baby and Beyond send out and love the Facebook page.
What qualities do you think are important in a baby massage instructor? I think being approachable and being able to put new mums at easy especially in a new group class.
What benefits do you derive from teaching baby massage? I love seeing how baby massage can have such a positive effect on babies and parents. A mum can come into a class after a very stressful morning and by the end of it will leave calmed and with a smile on her face and it is a pleasure to know I helped in that.
Have you learnt anything surprising about baby massage/yoga? I think the feedback on how well press for calm works!!
What’s your top tip for teaching baby massage? Not to be shocked by anything. I turned up to a class at a home only to find a very large owl watching me through the lounge window!! He was a pet and they had turned a large conservatory into his home! Also always have a smile on your face; you can have had an awful day but your clients are paying you and deserve a calm, professional happy teacher.
Have you had an amusing experiences in your work as an instructor? The owl was one. I also once walked into a house when the lounge was small and very full of furniture. I had just about managed to set up for me and the mum when the mum announced the grandma was joining in too! I have never been so squashed in my whole life.
Who would you most like to teach on one of your courses ? To be honest I have had the pleasure to teach many of my friend/colleagues and I can't think of anything better than passing on a skill like this to people you love/care about. So cheesy I know, but friends and family.

Some interesting answers from Suzie - thanks to Suzie for giving us some great responses! You can find Suzie online at her website: or her Facebook page:

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