Congratulations! You’ve recently completed a Group Fitness Certification Training, passed the exams and are now certified to teach! As a new instructor, we understand how excited you are to start teaching. It’s always a great idea to continue attending other instructors’ classes in order to continue your journey as a fitness instructor. Just because you are now certified to teach, doesn’t mean you stop being a student. You can learn a lot by taking and observing experienced instructors’ classes (e.g. watch how they interact with their class members, how they pre-cue, etc.). Veteran instructors are always more than happy to have you take their class as well – they appreciate the support!
While instructor communities are strong and supportive, there are some things to keep mind when taking other instructor’s classes. Anytime you take another instructor’s class, as an instructor yourself, please keep in mind these etiquette tips so that you are demonstrating support and respect to your colleague each time. You also want to keep in mind and prioritize the experience of the participants as well – they are the ones spending the time and money to take class so we must ensure they have the best class experience possible.
As an instructor attending someone else’s class, please:
1) Dance towards the sides or back of the room unless the lead instructor requests otherwise. Let paid participants have access to the front row. This is especially important if you plan to practice pre-cueing. For pre-choreographed formats, you may know the routine the instructor is teaching, however, instructors occasionally make errors (it happens to all of us), so if they pre-cue something different from the given choreography, there won’t be two people near the front pre-cueing two different moves. It is very confusing to the participants and distracting to lead instructors if you dance in the front row and pre-cue something other than what they are teaching. Therefore, the best way to practice pre-cueing in another person’s class is to do so in the back row. For non-pre-choreographed formats, you shouldn’t be attempting to pre-cue your own version of a song while in another person’s class.
Caveat: If you have paid for class, it is perfectly fine if you choose to dance in the front and middle rows but please do not pre-cue at all. There should only be one instructor pre-cueing so the class knows who to follow.
2) Follow the instructor’s lead in every routine no matter what. As mentioned above, we as instructors occasionally make mistakes with memorizing pre-choreographed material and are forced to improvise. Or we may add our own flair to certain moves. Even if you pick up on those differences or prefer another version of the choreo, please respect your fellow instructors by emulating them. It can be very disconcerting and distracting to the lead instructor and the class participants if they see someone doing different choreography than what is being taught.
3) Avoid asking instructors if you can teach a song in their class – allow them the courtesy of offering when you inform them that you will be attending. If they don’t offer, don’t act disappointed or as if they’re in the wrong. Some studios/gyms only allow hired staff to teach for liability reasons so we want to respect the facility’s policy if that’s the case. Also, the instructor worked hard to earn his/her weekly class. They have the right to teach their entire class if they want to. Your goal when taking someone else’s class should never be because you want the opportunity to teach in their class. Your goal is to attend their class to support them, learn from them, or just to get a workout in as a student.
4) Do not highlight where you teach to the participants in a fellow instructor’s class. If you are asked, that is one thing, but it is very poor etiquette to market your own class when unsolicited, especially if you teach just down the street at a potentially competing business. If you wouldn’t want someone doing that in your class, why would you do it in theirs?
5) Always pay for class! While certain locations/studios/gyms may allow their instructors to bring guests or fellow instructors for free, do not assume this is the case when you attend a class. Be prepared to pay for your attendance to every class. Simply informing an instructor you plan to take their class should not equate to “Please get me a free pass to your class” or “Here’s what I plan to teach in your class.” The best course of action if you want to take someone’s class? Look up the class time, find out the rates, register and pay for class, and show up ready to dance and support as a student!
Thank you for your cooperation, respect, and support of each other as you all rock out in classes as fellow Group Fitness Instructors! If you have any questions or concerns regarding this blog, or if I left anything out, please feel free to reach out!