I just started a position as a Fitness Coordinator at a Senior facility. This aquatics instructor is very sweet, but we have recieved many complaints. She also is going through many physical issues and always tells us how she “needs to get in the water”. Her skill level is very low also and attendance in her class is low also. These are all reasons to pull her from the classes. We are looking at cutting back her schedule for Fall, but she will still have two time slots. Suggestions on how to handle this are welcome. I have some ideas, but hoping for clarification and other ideas!
Does the facility have a policy how to handle employees that do not perform at the level expected of them? Usually, you talk with the employee, explain the situation and develop a plan for improvement. It is important that this is a plan that you can measure against. If she cannot perform in accordance with the established standards, then you will have a better base for an inevitable conversation.
This is always a very difficult conversation to have. You describe the instructor as ‘very sweet’ and have empathy with her personal situation. Your primary responsibility, though, is to the facility and to the senior members attending it.
That is unfortunate. I am of the opinion that the instructor should set the example as far as her health is concerned.
There are several things that are concerning with the description you’ve given.
1. It is not possible to teach aqua aerobics in the water. The participants can not see the movements.
2. Physically she is unable to teach the class. She’s not strong enough. The members are paying for a service and she is not able to effectively provide the service for which they are paying.
3. I like Karin’s idea about a plan for improvement. The dilemma with that is that the class numbers are low. Many have been turned off.
It seems that you are a compassionate person. However, if you have a different standard in treating this instructor, professionally it will send the wrong message to all the other group fitness instructors. That if they perform poorly there are no consequences.
Here is what I would do as a compassionate Fitness Coordinator.
If she is of value to the facility:
I would send two of my instructors to the Silver Sneakers workshop. The Silver Sneakers class is specifically for people over the age of 65. Perhaps that is the format she should be teaching. If you send two then they both can team teach. One seated, one standing.
If this not doable, unfortunately, you must let her go. The members have a right to quality services.
I wish you the best.
Both ideas are great. Another direction you could try is to pull her from the class she is now teaching, work with her to improve the areas you are not comfortable with and then create a class that show cases her strengths, create interest with your members and see if she can build the class from there. If this does not work, then I would consider letting her go.
I recently had to remove a teacher that I certified from my company’s list of Licensed teachers. She started to use a dangerous product from another company to teach my program.
She stated that she knew how to teach body mechanics because she was A.C.E. certified. She was the slowest learner in the training course and her integrity and focus didn;t quite meet the standards I prefer. I shouldn’t have passed her to begin with. I tried to talk with this woman about how she was out of her contractual agreement and she blew up at me. Then started bad mouthing me to my competition. Best not to get personal with these things.
It’s nice to give people a chance with a certain amount of time to see if they grow at the level you require. But as teachers and wellness managers, it is our responsibility to make sure all people supporting our base goals meet our personal and professional requirements.
hope this helps,
I’m a little surprised to hear everyone here thinks that instructors should get out of the water. In 90 degree outdoor weather that can be unkind and unreasonable. A good Aqua instructor can go quickly from person to person or out of the water to clarify: using vocal, visual, and kinesthetic cues. I work with 3 very experienced instructors and they all teach in the water. All are very popular with students. People learn to adapt to in-water instructors. Perhaps the exception is a very large outdoor pool where deep water is taught. Clarification is probably best on deck. I often see lazy land dominant instructors teach on deck to save time. My concern here would be her skill level and health. I appreciate your compassion and I’d probably coach her a bit to fit what the group needs. See if she gets passionate about things…