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?
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.