As featured by GEXhub.com, April 25, 2014.
- Be kind and professional. Be the class people want to take because of YOU, not because of what you’re teaching. Do not talk about other class participants with your regulars. As the instructor, we are responsible for the energy in the room and it is our job to make everyone feel welcome. Holding judgments will accomplish anything but. Respect that everyone is at a different point in their health/fitness journeys, but that they are exactly where they need to be; honor their process. Exercise, let alone in a group setting, is outside the comfort zone of many. Be inviting and smile. It makes you more approachable, tenfold.
- Be accessible, but set boundaries. Arrive to class with sufficient time to get situated and, of course, be available to any first-timers requiring assistance. Be sure these individuals are tended to before engaging in small talk with regulars. Being a GEX instructor means that we know a thing or two about fitness and/or nutrition and naturally, people will approach us for guidance in these realms. Even if it’s not your area of professional expertise, you only have to be one step ahead of your students to help. Don’t pretend to know something you don’t, but also don’t underestimate all that you DO have to offer, right now. Still, your time is your most valuable tool. Guard it, and know that you owe your students nothing more than the best class you can deliver, every time. If you offer additional services that you think you might serve them (and you!), direct them there. *An example from my own life. My students know that I am around for five minutes after each class while equipment is returned and am available for questions/comments then. If I am available and want to stay beyond that, I will, but beyond that it’s a consult or training.
- If others teach it, take it. This proved hugely helpful to me at the beginning of my career in GEX. An invaluable learning experience not only to understand how class formats vary, but in taking from different instructors who teach the same class you can take bits and pieces from each to make it your own. At this point, I know how I like to run my classes but still take on occasion when my routines are feeling stale and I am in need of some new ideas.
- Be open. You may be good, but you can always be better. Seek out opportunities for growth, and never stop learning. Take feedback for what it’s worth, but bear in mind that you can’t please everyone. And while it’s nice to receive compliments, we can’t depend on them to keep us going because they won’t always be there. Find it [inspiration] within you.
- Rest. Do NOT overcommit. Downing cough drops like it’s your job? May be an indication that you’re teaching too much. Though we’re inclined to want to help our colleagues every time they need coverage, do not feel obligated. My mantra when it comes to avoiding burnout? If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no. While most of us are more than [physically] capable of picking up a few extra classes, our mind, body and voice need rest. The last thing you want is for your classes to suffer because you’re fighting exhaustion.
What keeps you on your A-game when it comes to GEX? Let me know on the GEXhub Facebook page!