Friday, July 30, 2010

Fitness Friday: Pole Teaching

A new session of classes has begun. I am now assisting in level 1 and level 6. As much as I love seeing all the newbies, assisting higher levels is more my thing. In order to excel as an instructor, I believe you have to learn to teach everything because you don't always get to choose what you do.

Level 1 newbies may have pre-conceived notions of what pole dancing is. After one class, they soon understand that we teach for fitness. They come back the next week saying how sore they were and what a good workout it was with that look of sheer surprise on their faces. They are eager to learn more. This is all great stuff. I have a hard time teaching newbies mostly because I'm not confident yet. Some students just get it. You show them a move, explain what goes where, and voila! They do it after a couple of tries. Others, not so much. This is natural and expected. Even though I am assisting, there is a huge amount of pressure to make sure these newbies get the right instruction and the right base to continue. Without a good base, they will not excel. That's huge.
This makes me extremely nervous.

Higher levels are aware of their body in relation to the pole. They are starting to have an understanding of what works for them as an individual and what doesn't. If something feels awkward, they tell you (most of the time). I enjoy teaching higher levels because I can directly relate to them. I can look at what they are doing and have an easier time seeing what's not quite right. The base is already there, we're just helping build on top of it.

My task in the level 6 class is to run through the routine with them and work on bits and moves throughout it. Teaching a routine is easy. It's there already, you just have to help them learn it, make it flow and then let me have fun with it.
I emailed a student in the class the day after the class because I had no idea how it went. I felt good, and I felt like I did a good job because they understood everything, but I needed that reassurance or the feedback.
Here was the students response:
You did amazing. I wouldn't have known it was your first time if you hadn't mentioned. You're doing a really great job and I admire you a lot so absolutely no criticism.
This totally boosted my confidence and actually made me blush. I would love to get in the habit of giving students a chance to give their feedback halfway through a session so the next half can be improved upon.