How many classes per week should I be teaching? What times should I be working? Should I accept any teaching offer? Pay rates.
If you are working full time teaching two or three classes per week is a nice start. When I first started teaching Pilates I was also working as a professional dancer and going to rehearsals and touring. I remember when I was in New York on a grant to study dance film at the New York Film Academy, I got a call from a gym to cover a Pilates class. Pilates was calling me from all the way back in Australia! About six months later I realised that I preferred the appreciation I got from teaching classes than the applaud I received from a dark auditorium of invisible faces. I sought out more Pilates teaching gigs. Within 6 months I had 10 classes.
Everyone has the right number of classes for them. Teaching over your perfect number you can feel burnt out and exhausted. This can come through in your teaching, you might become careless with your clients, or a little abrupt. Part of the responsibility of being a good Pilates instructor is be in a good frame of mind, with enough sleep, and with the best intention at heart for your clients. Remember you are a role model for health - this does not mean you have to be perfect, but striving to be the best you, as most of your clients are doing too! This week I have 28 hours of teaching, last week it was 21 hours. Some instructors limit there hours to 20, others to 30. I personally would not want to be teaching over 30 hours per week.
The times that you teach also can affect your energy level in class. If you have very early morning classes at 6am or 6:30am as well as classes that finish at 8:30pm you can feel stretched. This can be managed by taking time out in the middle of the day for a rejuvenating nap, massage, or meditation, or choosing to just teach only early classes or only late classes.
Travel time is another factor to consider. If it takes you an hour to get to class and an hour to get home this might not be the best class for you. If those classes were closer in distance then it may take the same amount of energy to teach them both but be able to earn more income. This is the appeal of back to back classes, so a reduction of pay per class for two or three back to back classes can be worth it if you factor in travel time. I now teach just from home and I love the fact that my travel time is almost zero, so this allows me to see my clients at different times of the day without drawing down on my most important resource - my energy.
Where you work can also affect your energy levels. If you are teaching a corporate class for 45 minutes in the city to appreciative office workers and this class gives you much joy, than this class is more beneficial than teaching 3 hours in a studio with no windows with the sound of renovations throughout the session and an unappreciative boss and complaining clients. You want to be teaching classes than make your soul sing! That being said, your initial energy can assist that feeling as generally the people coming to your class are wanting a positive experience too.
Some of the most rewarding classes I have taught have been group mat and seeing how my class was really helping the participants. This had a snow ball effect and the energy of this class just kept growing as did the numbers. Everyone had a smile on their face at the end of the session and perhaps a little giggle during the session as well as a good dose of sweat. If a class excites you then you know you have struck gold as the energy to teach this class will actually give you more energy. Teaching a class that saps your energy is one you might consider letting go - another better class will replace it! This has always worked for me even though at times it has been a little scary. Some classes can lead to other things too like more exposure, more clients, or a bigger following on Instagram! It depends on what makes you buzz.
It is great to have a combination of financial reward, professional development, plus happiness and energy factor. The amounts of each can shift from year to year as your values or needs may shift too. When I first started teaching I accepted any and every class as I wanted the experience. Also teaching at a number of different environments from studios to health clubs and corporate classes helped me to see how a business could run in each environment. This was valuable to me in deciding the direction I wanted to take my career.
Pay rates vary from place to place. Teaching group classes at a health club the rate is generally $60. I have heard of classes being offered for $45 but I would not teach for that unless the experience and was valuable to me. Corporate classes can pay anywhere between $80 and $120. Teaching in a studio can range between $25 - $50 per class.
One thing I did early on was to hire a space to teach my own group class. If you are planning to do this then do your marketing first and only schedule the class if you have enough participants to cove the cost of the venue hire as well as make a profit, and factor in 30% not turning up. You don't want to be paying to teach your class! Having a following on Instagram can help to keep in tough with your participants and keep them motivated.
You can check out my Instagram here! to get you motivated!
Another thing I did was to hire a reformer at one of the Health Clubs I was teaching group classes at. I used this to train my private clients. Payment was on a sliding scale depending on how many clients I had during that particular week that I would pay back to the gym. This really helped me build up my client base before starting my own studio. I could then bring my clients with me when this health club was sold.
If you are interested in hiring my studio to teach some of your clients one on one, duets, or groups up to three, please contact me on 0413 882 726 to discuss.
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