I have been approached to teach 2 classes each week as a result of an instructor leaving the facility and I’ve accepted and will be teaching starting next week. This instructor who left was with the facility for many years and is well-liked by the members who attend these classes. I anticipate some disappointed faces and – possibly – some lower attendance. None of them know the instructor has left and they will be finding out from me. Any advice on how to handle this in general / how to introduce myself proactively at the start of the first few classes?
this is really an unfortunate situation that the club places you in. Why on earth will you have to be the one who tells the members that a well-liked instructor has left?
Well, be that what it may, you’ll be teaching the classes, and some people will be disappointed. Have you ever taken any of her classes?
After having introduced myself, I would say that your style may be different from the one of the old instructor, but that you encourage feedback on what they like and maybe not and that you ask for a chance to get to know you.
Ultimately, they don’t have a choice. You are it but it may make the transition easier when the members feel as if they have some input.
The way you present this information will set the tone for your success
Be confident and assure the members that you will provide a great workout, albeit, with your own style and impetus!
It’s tough taking over a class, but it’s imperative to not let them “see you sweat”(until the workout begins).
Take command right away, don’t back down, be true to yourself and those who are pulled to you will continue to come!
I had it happen when I was transitioning from the ‘mommy track’ back to teaching that the first class I was offered had been taught by one of the most popular teachers ever at that location. She filled rooms at 9 in the morning with people waiting to get in.
I also saw it happen recently when a new Zumba teacher came in to teach for a very popular teacher who had to give up a class. Her first class she was nervous and couldn’t remember all her choreography.
In both cases everything turned out, and it will for you as well. Even if ultimately this class is not something you keep, it is an opportunity to learn and teach. You will most likely loose some students, but you will have the opportunity to make the class your own, and rebuild it. The zumba teacher seems to be building a good audience for her class. I moved to a different time I liked better a few months later and find when I go back to that time I am warmly welcomed.
First, I would say be like Susan Boyle when she first tried out on Britain’s Got Talent, she came in to laughter, but behaved with the utmost grace and dignity, even with those that did not believe in her at first.
Second, I would say be yourself, rather than the person you are replacing. If she was a drill sergeant and you are more of a laugh and have fun person, be true to that.
That said, go in with all the intensity and love of the discipline you have, be present, be strong, make them sweat, look them in the eye.
Whether or not ultimately the class works for you the people who are in charge will know this is a hard transition and will respect you for jumping in. New York is a challenging market, with a lot of driven students. If you are good enough to be teaching there you must be good.
Hi Cristin. My advice: be upbeat, friendly and welcoming. Don’t EXPECT disappointment from the class members or they may sense that and exhibit it. Instead expect that they will love YOUR class, adjust to your style and embrace it. There’s a lot to be said that ‘we get back from others what we give out,” so go in there with energy and the expectation of a great class. See this as an ‘opportunity’ to give the class participants something new and different!
You will shine, and your class participants will come to see that!
Have fun 🙂
You already have some great suggestions here. All I would add is be yourself and keep in mind that your personality, teaching style and experience might actually bring in or back people who either didn’t like the previous instructor or they would love to try something new. Once you start teaching the class you can always adjust to the needs of the class if needed. Look at it as an opportunity to grow your business and get your name out there. You might be the missing link to a great and more fun class!