31 December, 2016

10 resolutions for pole instructors!

1. Share more. Us pole dancers are, for the most part, a bunch of exhibitionists, so many of you probably already do this, but let's spend a little more time this year sharing our videos, our pictures, our thoughts with our students and the wider pole world.You never know what new students you might pick up because of it.

2. Spend more time doing admin. I'm terrible. I can sometimes leave messages to sit for days, I forget to update the studio facebook page, I forget to keep track of students attendance and payments. I forget to message students who have been missing. I forget to sit down and plan lessons out properly. Life would be so much easier if I just spent a little time each day doing these things, instead of letting them build up. Just half an hour to an hour each day!

3. Spend more time on your syllabus. A good syllabus is a life saver. It will help your students to progress well. You can buy books like the PDC syllabus or Spin City's Pole Bibles but I have found that they often miss out or order moves in a way I would not normally teach them. Also there are often moves I refuse to teach because I suck at them! They're a really great tool to use but you really should have your own syllabus, at least for beginner levels. My syllabus also includes combinations, strength training, progressions and regressions I can use.

4. Be on time. Every evening it starts off well. I get to the studio early to set up the poles and therefore am ready to go on time for the first class, but as the evening goes on I run over more and more until the last class can start between 5 and 10 minutes late. It's so easy to get carried away and start stretching late when everyone is sooo in to class or finally getting moves they've been working on, but it's unfair on later students. Set a specific time each class to start stretching and STICK TO IT.

5. Train yourself. It's surprisingly easy to run out of things to teach. Sometimes I'll see a move online and realise I haven't taught it in 6 months and forgot it exists! Other times I have students who have been with me since day 1 and they're nearly advanced, or more advanced!!, than me. Regular training sessions to re-cap moves is important, as is taking time to learn something new. Go and take some classes with another instructor, train with other pole dancers, go and do a workshop with a famous pole dancer or simply shut yourself in the studio for some dance time every week this year!

6. Look after yourself - a broken unwell instructor is not going to be as effective. Stretch daily, get monthly massages, ensure you warm up and cool down properly every time you teach. If you need to take time off then do, you might lose money in the short term but if you're too broken to teach in the long term you'll lose a whole lot more. Seek professional help - physios, chiropractors, doctors. Know your anatomy!!! It will be a massive help in preventing injuries to begin with.

7. Slow things down. It's so easy to get through a lot of different moves each class but in reality you should be encouraging your students to spend a considerable amount of time on each move. Some lessons I only get through two moves or combinations, others we get through 4 or 5. Keep an eye on the mood of the class but try and drag things out just a little bit further. You'll make sure your students are better prepared but also that you don't run out of things to do with them so quickly. If you're teaching individual moves; get your students to put them in to a combination.

8. Get to know your students. There has to be some kind of a professional boundary involved (read this post here for more information) but that doesn't mean you can't get to know your students better. Ask about their personal lives, organise a trip to a pole competition or a night out. Ensure they know that you are there if they ever need to talk. I am reaaallllyyy bad at talking to my students about their day to day lives. There are just so many of them now, it's hard to even remember the names of their partners and what they do for jobs. Knowing little details means a lot to your students. I vow to be better on this one; because it's not like I don't care.

9. Try something new. Do you often teach your classes in a fitness based way? Solely focusing on strength training and pole tricks and moves? Try putting a little routine together to teach your students. Focus solely on dancing? Have a lesson on some harder moves. Maybe throw in a little bit of extra stretching, or some freestyling exercises (In particular I like blindfolded dancing or getting my students to try one combination to lots of different types of music, or picking random moves on cards and making a routine.). Maybe do a whole week on floor work and sexy moves. Shake it up a little! Some students may not like it, they will put up with it once in a blue moon, whilst others will love it.

10. Be MORE than just an instructor. Be a friend, be an inspiration, be a lecturer. Change your students lives. Give them permission to be who they are and refuse to let them degrade themselves with their horrible verbal self flagellation (my students have to do burpees or press ups if they're mean to themselves). Don't just conduct a fitness class. Do provide a safe space, a home, a family.

What other resolutions would you add?