Thursday, January 16, 2014

The inaugural class

So...Tuesday night. My first ever class as an instructor. I would say it went really well.

Monday afternoon, I stopped off at the church to deal with some logistics.

1) Picking up a key so I could actually get me and my class inside the building.

2) Coordinating with the church so that they received a copy of my liability insurance policy (an absolute necessity when your venue is a non-profit).

3) Arranging a payment schedule with the church for their portion of what I earn. there, I learned that the room I was supposed to use for class currently had a tent set up inside as well as a large ark. Yeah, I said "large ark". Hey, it's a church... I was promised that those items would be moved out of the room before I arrived the following evening and they were. I was very pleased, as well as grateful that I didn't have to move it on my own as it sounded kind of heavy. There were some other things in the room that I did not move out, but may move temporarily into the hall next week. A coat rack with costumes on it, and a stack of paper grocery bags (I imagine these are part of some craft project). Having left them in the room the first night, I can now see their potential to become tripping hazards. Initially, I thought I'd be able to squeeze twenty people in there if it ever came to that. I'm wrong, it's more like twelve. Should I ever exceed that number, we're going to be having class in the lobby I think! People need room to move and dance and the lobby is enormous.

The room is carpeted, but I brought three rolls of plastic packing tape with me and had my lovely ladies tape their shoes (if you want to see what that looks, like click here). You all know, dear readers, that I have a Costco membership, so buying a handy 8-pack of packing tape is no big deal for me.
They thought it was a fantastic idea once they tried it, and then we made jokes about the constant crinkling noise as we walked around. Incidentally though, you don't hear that over the music once you get started. So, the bottom line is that carpet, while not ideal, is totally doable.

Aside from some rolls of tape, I also packed:
* scissors to cut the tape
* my own speakers and sub-woofer (so that I would have a place to plug in my phone)
* my shoes and a tensor roll (yes, I still wrap that ankle)
* my drink
* some business cards and punch cards
* something to write with and on so my ladies would have a way to put down contact info
* a cosmetics bag with some extras inside: hair clips and elastics, a tensor roll and clips, etc.
Added to all that was my wallet and phone. I packed all of this into my black and pink utility tote, that's the same bag that I took to B1 certification. That bag may look huge, but it fills up really fast!

I arrived 15 minutes early so I'd have time to set up. I unlocked the door and let myself in but then no matter what I did, I couldn't get it to -stay- unlocked. I wound up propping it open with a bucket of rock salt. Luckily for me, one of my students had seen someone work that door before and knew the trick to getting it to stay open; she showed me so I'd know for next week.

The weather on Tuesday night was kind of crummy, a little sleet-y. I believe it kept some people away who had otherwise planned to come. I had four ladies for my first class, and it was a good time. Small and intimate, but lots of fun. Of my four students, three had never taken a Zumba class before. Frankly, I was honored that they chose to start with me. How one starts Zumba can make a huge impact one how one continues. If it's not a good experience, it really puts people off. One of my long-term goals for this class is to create a positive atmosphere in which people can learn, exercise, and just have fun with it.

My class did amazing. They were enthusiastic and energetic, and really, that's the foundation right there. When a participant has energy and enthusiasm, technical skill will eventually come. They're excellent clappers already.'d clap, and they'd clap with me, and it was one clap in unison; I was impressed. When I first started Zumba four years ago, I was that one in class who always clapped an half-beat behind everyone else. I also thought that they really nailed the grapevine step (a sideways travel step). Is there room for improvement? Always, and that includes myself.

Some feedback that they gave me:
* That I made the experience non-threatening - I loved hearing that, that's what I was going for!
* That my smile was infectious - High praise indeed!
* Could I reverse one of the turns in one of the songs so that we weren't always turning in the same direction - An excellent observation that I hadn't thought of, it's good to balance the sides as much as possible.

I am so very pleased by how Tuesday night went and I can't wait to go back next Tuesday and do it again. FYI: playlist will be the same.

I normally end with best advice and before I get to that, I want to talk about some really good advice I received when preparing myself to teach.

From Jae: Make lots of eye contact and smile -- The smiling part turned out to be spot on! The eye contact too, but I really need to work on that more. I found myself watching their feet a lot.

From Rae: Make a playlist and a plan, and then be prepared to change it -- Yep! I had songs I didn't use because I thought it was more important to spend time on teaching steps. Step breakdowns are always useful in my opinion, because what good are 15 songs that nobody can follow? It's far better to have 11 that your class can actually do. Quality over quantity folks.

Best advice: Listen to the voices of experience! (Jae and Rae: Thanks for the advice)

I am neither affiliated with or endorsed by either Zumba Fitness (beyond being a simple instructor) or Scotch 3M - Just an interested shopper with an opinion!

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