1. Start with a Lot of Students
What you want to do is set yourself up for success. It is hard enough to feel confident as an instructor but then to have very few students can really drag yourself down. Especially when you are a new teacher or start a new class, pick a location or time you know will get a lot of students. Start with subbing until you become more known or teach within a community where you are already known. You’ll feel a lot more energized as an instructor when there are more people adding to the energy in the room.
2. Record Yourself and Watch
One of the best ways to see for yourself how you are doing is to record yourself and watch the recording. If you can’t record yourself teaching in a true group setting, then do a mock class in your living room with the video camera. Note what you want to improve upon, make those changes, and re-record to verify your success.
3. Practice in the Classroom
Yes, you can practice on your own at home until you have the routine and words memorized and in sync with the music. But the real confidence comes from doing it in a real class with real students with all the energy buzzing. You’ll learn from the real experience so get in there and do it!
4. Watch Your Students
One of the best ways to know how you are doing is to watch your students and see how they are following directions. If repeating the same thing does not work, try something different and then stick with what works in the future. Trial and error can be one of your best teachers. If you need to stop what you are doing to watch, that is fine. Remember this is not your workout; it is theirs.
5. Ask for Feedback from Your Students
One of my favorite things to say at the end of a class is, “If you liked the class, please tell my boss. If you did not, please just tell me.” If you want to be confident that you are giving your students what they want, ask them. Ask what they liked and did not like. Ask what else they would want to be included in the class. Ask them for music suggestions. How was the speed or physical intensity? Was it fun? Did it push you beyond what you thought was your edge? Did we warm up and cool down smoothly? The more specific you can get with your question, the more direct a response they can offer. Maybe you can even hand out a survey and offer them a reward for filling it out.
6. Take Other Classes
Knowing what is out there and getting ideas from other instructors is helpful. Also pay close attention to how they teach, what words they use, when they make cuts, the tone of voice, how the students respond… If you repeat what works for another that suits your personality, you can have the confidence of success.
7. Ask Your Boss to Watch You
Typically fitness directors do make their rounds to each instructor’s class, but just in case ask them to attend or watch you teach, and ask for honest feedback. If they have a list of qualities they are looking for, you can request that list in advance. Getting expert advice is sure to put you at the top of your game.
8. Attend Training Regularly
Speaking of advice from the experts, suit yourself with the armor of the top professionals in your genre and you will feel better equipped to win the battle of taking your students to the highest experience.
9. Remember It Is for Them
Sometimes us instructors can get caught in how we appear to our students when they are really just looking for a good experience and do not care how perfect we are. It is easy to get stuck for a while on a mistake we made but the student is in the present moment waiting for you to give them something new and great. What we offer is for them, not us.
10. Have Fun!
Make sure you are teaching what you love because the energy of fun will have the greatest magnetism. Having fun is easier to be successful at than any other element of teaching. Plus, you will feel more relaxed. Remember to be yourself and let that shine to your students. People love authenticity more than someone trying to fit into what may be thought of as a cool personality.
Good luck and enjoy!
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