07 January, 2015

This is how I make a living...

I am angry right now. So angry. I post a little more of my self on my tumblr. A little more personal stuff, thoughts about things. I try not to name people in my real life or bitch but sometimes you need a moan. I had a new hooping student join me the other day, she turned up late and without money to pay for her class. I dared to post that this is NOT okay, without naming her, on a website she will likely never see. I also dared posting that a student had cancelled yesterday but it was okay cause I still get paid and I would go in to stretch instead. Well, excuse me...


Apparently that makes me a bad instructor who only gives a shit about the money. And this made me so angry. More angry than I have been in a long long time. I wanted to scream and shout. In fact I still do. This is how I make my goddamn living. You wouldn't go in to a supermarket and, as you're leaving, tell them that you'll pay next week and take the goods anyways. It doesn't work like that. And almost every studio and business that deals with people face to face will charge you if you don't show up and give little notice. That's just how it is. How am I supposed to find a student an hour before class to fill the space? That just doesn't happen, especially with day time classes. All students sign a contract, they all know they must give 6 hours notice. If I could - trust me I wouldn't worry about it but I cannot afford to lose even one class a weeks money. Often I barely make a grand a month.

Anyone who knows me knows that I FUCKING LOVE TEACHING. It's the best job in the world. I love it and I love my students. I work hard to be the best instructor I can. I have my down days like everyone does and sometimes people annoy me - sure, but for the most part I have fun, I love it and ultimately I get to make a living from it. I am damn lucky. But that doesn't mean my students can do whatever they want and take the piss. I am still running a business. Without certain things in place - y'know like students paying promptly or actually turning up when they're meant to - I would have to go and find a full time job elsewhere and would not be able to teach, or teach often. That's not how I want to live my life either.

On top of that I am allowed to be a person with feelings and thoughts. I won't gel with every single students I ever have and that's okay. I'm polite and kind to everyone unless they're being out of order (I had a student throw a tantrum once because I wouldn't let them back on the pole after we'd stretched and class had ended, urrr). I've spoken before about being a role model within and outside of class and that still stands but I am also allowed to say when things upset or annoy me. Specially on my private more personal blog.

And that's the thing - bad etiquette and student behavior needs to stop. People do need to realise that this is a job, that it is how we make our living, that we're entitled to charge whatever we want in any way we want. If you don't like it - that's fine, feel free to go elsewhere. But I will not have people in my class who think it's okay to not pay AND turn up late. If I didn't have the money or there was a reason why I coudn't get to a cash point then I wouldn't go or would contact the instructor prior to class. It's basic basic manners people.

Teaching is hard. Specially if it's your full time job, but also if it's your side job (fuck going to work for the day and then going to teach in the evening, you're hardcore guys!). I don't get paid for a lot of the shit that my job involves. I spend; hours every day replying to texts and fb messages from prospective and current students, half hour to an hour every day doing lesson plans, posting on fb to try and bring students in, putting poles up and down (it takes me an hour to take the poles up and then down again on top of my teaching time and i dont get paid for that), travelling between studios, working on syllabuses and routines and combinations for class, doing paperwork (I'm self employed, I do my own taxes). I also make hoops for people which take 40 mins to an hour to make - some weeks I can have as many as twenty orders to make, others only one or two. On top of teaching anywhere from 11 to 20 hours a week. Some weeks I may work 7 days of the week as we often perform or teach workshops on the weekends. In the summer I literally do not stop as we work at festivals every weekend. On top of that I have to train. I have to attend classes. If I don't keep on top of my game and learn new things then I will run out of things to teach eventually. I don't get paid for that but it is absolutely essential.

So next time you want to judge someone, or think your instructor should run about after you, or that you shouldn't have to pay in full on time - just think on that. I love my job, I love my students but goddamn I have a right to make a living and a right to be human.

- Bex