21 years ago, when I was a brand new instructor, I subbed for a very popular instructor at a gym where I also had a membership. A few days later, I was in the dressing room getting dressed behind a curtain, getting ready to take the instructor’s class. Some members came up to her and said they were so glad that she was back because the sub was soooooo awful. They went on for about 30 seconds, which felt like an hour. I stayed in there after they left, then gathered my things and drove home in tears.
Here’s what I learned from that experience.
1) As an instructor, I never, EVER, allow members to talk smack about other instructors to me and I try to impress upon my members that a sub is a gift. If they start to complain, I counter with something positive about that instructor.
2) I learned that not everyone is going to like the way I teach, but that doesn’t mean I’m a bad instructor. After I stopped fretting about the people who didn’t like me (and it DID hurt), I recognized that there were a lot more people who liked me – my regular classes had decent attendance. It usually takes a while for an instructor to grow into his or her own skin, and the early criticism forced me to grow into and accept mine.
Be, unabashedly, who you are. Celebrate the members who like your class.