Mistakes I made when I started teaching

Rich Foliage BannerThis is actually part two in the ‘Mistakes I made’ series so click here if you’re interested in Mistakes I Made When I Started Writing. Next year, I plan to add a ‘Things I did Right’ series since we can all learn from both! Note: This might be heavy on yoga since I solely taught yoga for years before I added any other formats but I’ll include some learning experiences from when I added additional formats too.

  1. I did a student-by-student check-in

    When I started teaching, I would go around the room and check in with each student, one-by-one. I had great intentions as I wanted each student to get a chance to voice any requests and let me know of any ailments since quieter students tend not to speak up when you just ask the whole room at once. Well, the quieter students still didn’t really speak up and it ate up valuable class time. I abruptly ended this practice when one yoga student requested “lots of planks” and a few students later requested “not many planks.” We all got a little laugh but, right away, I realized this check-in time could actually lead to some disappointments. Instead, I started telling the class at the end to let me know if they had any requests for the next class.

  2. I was glued to my class plan

    I am all about a class plan (read my tips for class planning here) but, when first starting out, I couldn’t teach without almost reading my notebook. At one point, I had a very detailed plan for a ‘shoulders-focused’ class and during my check-in circle, I discovered that almost every single person had shoulder issues or injuries or limited range of motion in their shoulders. I panicked a little and, in that moment, I realized my plan need to have some more flexibility. One thing that has helped is having several class plans in my notebook, ready to go.

  3. I didn’t plan enough material

    As a new teacher, I would be ready to head to final resting and notice there was still 20 more minutes of class time. I think more home practice and taking other classes helps the most with this since you’ll have more material in your back pocket.

  4. I used a distracting playlist

    I am I was against teaching to ‘yoga music’ when I first started out and I think that’s okay but I was more focused on making a playlist that I liked and not focused enough on what would support a smooth class. Now, years later, I’ve come around to ‘yoga music’ when it’s subtle and doesn’t distract from the class. I would also prefer to spend more time on planning poses than music. For other more music-based classes, of course I still put a strong emphasis on a solid playlist.

  5. I didn’t want to teach to the music

    Speaking of music, I fought hard against learning musicality in the beginning and I’m still a work in progress. You can read more about why I’ve come around on teaching to the beat here but I am now a believer that it’s super important for many formats including cycling and barre.

  6. I didn’t want to use a mic

    Since I started out in yoga, a microphone was very unfamiliar. It was such a foreign concept to me that I fought back for a while when I started teaching other formats. When I started teaching cycling, I taught in smaller environments so my own voice was sufficient. Then I auditioned for class at a larger health club and, since it was my first time using the mic, I was so worried about yelling that I was actually very low energy and almost whispering at points. Now I realize that your voice is not an unlimited resource and you have to treat it well if you want it to last so mic up!

♥ Andrea


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