I feel awful about this…Out of my 10+years of teaching group exercise classes, this is the first time that I have wanted to kick a participant out. I have had a young woman come to my kickboxing class 3 times now with a group of friends, she clearly doesn’t want to be there, but she comes anyway. She is disruptive (answering her phone when it rings, she stops and yells, “if she makes me jump one more time!”, stands in the middle of the class with the biggest attitude and won’t do anything). I swear, It’s completely disruptive, and no matter how much I try to motivate her, she is the biggest Debbie Downer! Has anyone else experienced anything like this before?
If one person disrupts the whole class then it’s your job to do your best to ensure the safety of the rest of the participants and the positive flow of the class. There are a number of other clients who want to be there and are taking the class seriously, not to mention they have paid money for it and are expecting results. Even though I haven’t faced this situation before, if faced with it, I would have a private conversation with the woman and explain why she is no longer welcome to attend class, and I’d refund her for any unused classes. It’s just not fair to the other participants, and kicking her out will send a message to the majority that you care about their experience in your class and their success. Who knows–people may (or may have already) stop coming to your class because of this woman as well.
I have not only wanted to, I did. In my case it was a gentleman who absolutely did not belong in my class because of concerns for his safety. He did not like it one bit when I asked him to leave but he did.
Your situation is different, though, and a lot more difficult than mine, particularly since she comes with a group of friends, and you do not want to end up alienating the entire group.
However, you will need to summon your courage to have a conversation with her. It is no good telling her that a bad attitude destroys the positive feeling of the class. That’s no reason to ask her to leave. I would tell her that her behavior distracts you to the point that you are not always able to pay the needed attention to ALL class participants, and thus the safety of the class is at stake. She has been in your class already three times, so you have some examples. Make this an issue about safety which nobody can argue with, not her attitude or stuff like that, and you may have success. This will also bring the other participants on your side (they are already because they are probably just as annoyed) of the argument.
I wish you good luck.
Sure I have. If someone totally disrupts class or refuses to “follow the rules” then it’s unfair to your other students who are there to workout.
I would contact her and have a frank conversation with her about the situation and without a second thought let her know that she is no longer welcome in your class.
Keep your integrity and professionalism!
You poor girl. Your job as the instructor is to give an amazing, safe workout for the people who want to be there. I’ve taken classes where there were people like that and the instructor didn’t do ANYTHING! I was so distracted by them that I actually moved across the room. Sadly, I never went back and the instructor was awesome.
I have been teaching for almost 10 years also and luckily I’ve only had to kick one person out.
I had a teenage girl who was there because her mom made her come. At the beginning of class I walked over to her and introduced myself (my classes are small enough that I notice when someone is new). I asked if she had ever taken a kickboxing aerobics class, she said no. I continued to show her all the safety stuff and when I got to the part where I showed her the basics, she just gave me this horrible look (hands on hips) and didn’t say a word. Her mother then said “She’s a boxer, she knows what she’s doing”. So I said ok great. I started to teach class and during the warm up she just stood there and glared at me. So I walked over to her and said, “you can’t just stand. You have to do something or I need you to leave”. I continued with the warm up and again she just stood there. So I started to walk over to her again and this time she headed for the door.
For some reason, I still felt bad. My class was happy though and that’s more important. I did feel much better after it was over though. People like that have a way of infecting the entire class with their negativity. You’ll feel better once she’s gone. Promise.
You all have provided me with wonderful insight, and advice on this issue. I work in a corporate-based wellness/fitness center, so I see my members pretty often throughout my building. Oddly enough, I ran into her (the young woman) this morning and had a little chat. I had a chance to think about it over night and decided to approach the situation empathetically. At first, I asked her if everything was okay, and I was concerned because she was not quite being herself, and was being disruptive during class. She said that she was not feeling well and was not in the best moods yesterday, and apologized. I then told her that I hoped that she was having a better day, and encouraged to ‘free her mind’ of that work stress when she crosses the threshold into the gym. I let her know that her downer affected the whole class, and had some people upset.Plus, a lot about trying to create a safe, positive environment, yada, yada, yada…and I reminded her that we all feed off the negative and positive energy in a group setting and wished that she would give of the good vibes that she wants to take in. Our talk didn’t end up being a big scolding, like I felt like giving her yesterday, yet we hashed out, and I think she is clear on what is expected now. Thanks again for all the kind words, and support!