So if like me you had pondered about online teaching but were then forced to use virtual platforms during covid-19. Here follows ten top tips to make your sessions exciting, educational, inviting and enjoyable for you to do.
1. Fees – Firstly decide are you going to charge or not charge. There is no right or wrong and we should not judge other studios or teachers. Everyone’s circumstances are different. I personally gave some free tasters via my newsletters (it’s always good to give back). I then offered either a monthly fee or a pay per each class. I have two empty apparatus pilates studio which I am still paying for – it’s survival for everyone. If I was only teaching from my living room it might be different. Some clients have accepted the fee, others including teachers think it should be free. My experience of offering any free tasters is that it does not pay the bills and I end up a busy fool chasing sales that do not cover my overheads.
2. Platform hosting – I chose to use ZOOM, but there are many others including facebook live, or google duo to name but a few. Some charge monthly or yearly fees, some have no costs. So if you are doing live classes, I would recommend one of those platforms. If you are doing free pre recorded sessions, youtube is a for sure. On the other hand, if you are charging, then Vimeo or Zoom is best, as you can receive pre payments upfront. Make sure if you are doing live sessions that you know how and when to work the device and that you have practiced first on friends and family. I sent out plenty of information and videos to clients on how to use zoom, what to see and what to expect.
3. Filming devices– So whether your’e using your iPhone, iPad, PC or camera , check the sound and lighting. I have a big bay window behind me in my living room which makes me appear dark when recording. I chose to use my PC to record and have put additional curtains up. Also, I already had a photographers set of lights but invested in a high quality webcam. Theses accessory’s probably won’t be needed if you already have good light and a quiet background.
4. Professionalism – Be your own authentic self. People who resonate and connect with you will come to you. Stop trying to people please, teach your own style and don’t worry about your flaws. It does not matter about your weight, flexibility or core strength. There are plenty of clients to suit everyone and plenty of clients to go around. Start on time and finish on time. I dress professionally as if I were at my studio, with my hair tied in a side bun and my teaching attire on. I don’t turn up in my scruff. Motivate and make regular communication when you teach as if your clients are there with you.
5. Self care – You cannot give to others until you give to yourself. I am a great believer in meditation, it gives us better facility to deal with problems in life and a better reaction to circumstances. Remember the more developed you get mentally, the less judgment (your shadow self showing up here) you will have on others. You will develop more empathy and compassion and not be so reactive. Everyone is trying to navigate their way through life and are doing what they feel right at that time. Finally, if I could prescribe anything for you, it would be meditation! For myself, however, I cannot sit with legs crossed and meditate, my hips just don’t allow it, so I tend to do more movement meditation. I keep reminding myself of Don Miguels “Five amendments’.
6. Variety –Remember variety is the spice of life. No one wants to turn up to the same style class each day. I’ve made sure mine has a variety of tempos and furthermore crosses the full spectrum of pilates to include classical, contemporary to functional. Classes, asanas and exercise target different aspects of the body, including the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I spend at least two hours a day doing research and flicking through others styles of movement and other teachers. I write down the ideas and then construct my evenings classes from there.
7. Beginnings – Start and finish with a quote, poem or thought of the day. Not everyone wants movement. We tend to be three types of learners: visual, kinetic or auditory learners. I love information and this really stimulates me mentally – but that’s my personal style.
8. Connection – At a time of social distancing and isolation (which is not a natural thing for human beings to do and possibly the worst thing for the immune and central nervous system), human connection is important. I say hello to everyone individually at the beginning of class by saying their name and I also thank them individually for attending at the end. I am always happy to listen and ask them to email any fresh ideas or concerns.
9. Judgement – People’s emotions are on roller coasters and this could even be yourself. The way we treat and express ourselves about others is actually the way we feel about ourself. We live in a country with freedom of speech and are entitled to our opinions. However there is an appropriate way of doing this. There is a definite call on social media for the knowledge and teachings of “Non violent communication’ by Marshall Rosenberg.
10. Gratitude – Every day I do three gratitudes with my loved ones. This puts everything into perspective. We all have our moaning and complaining days – including me. These behavioural pattens are called survival archetypes. The main thing is to recognise which archetype you are presently playing, nip it in the bud and stop repeating the same behaviour. If you want to change others you need to change yourself first.