In pole, we talk about this a lot while in other activities, it’s less common.…
If you’ve been teaching for a while, you probably haven’t thought much about your class intro. Unless you regularly teach an intro or beginner level class, you probably get a bunch of regulars who know you and your shtick and you just dive right in. Or maybe I’m projecting because that’s totally me. =)
I always do an injury/feeling check, inviting people to share in the group or in private if something is feeling “wonky” today. Some folks are comfortable talking about that in a group and others are not. If people just stare at me, I will often prompt with something I’m feeling in my body like “slept funny on my neck!” or “feeling energized today!” which can get people talking about how they feel.
I might at that point, introduce what we’re working on that day.
What I usually forget to do is to actually welcome people to class and say my name (doh!)
I also forget to tell people what they’re going to get “after” class today. But wait, didn’t I tell them what we’re going to work on? Sure, I did, but just because we’re working on a specific move doesn’t mean everyone will “achieve” that move today.
While this isn’t a bad format, I think it could be better.
So, let’s take another approach to creating better intros:
- Welcome people to class: like really welcome them! Say you’re excited they’re here! With you! At the studio! Holding space together, sharing a journey together. Whatever feels authentic to you. Make sure to use gender neutral terms like folks, people, humans, unicorns, etc. rather than “ladies.” Don’t start your class by making presumptions about the folks in attendance! If you have specific instructions for your space, share them too like: we’re expecting a fire drill today or the bathrooms are down the hall, as relevant.
- Introduce yourself: Who are you? What’s your name? What’s this place? Is this a special workshop or something that happens every week? Do you love this content, or do you merely tolerate it? (Hint, if you merely tolerate it, maybe you should teach something else!). If it’s someone’s first time, they really have no idea where they are. Maybe there are situations where the whole class introduces themselves, this depends a lot on your content and the situation.
- Set the stage: tell them not just what you might be working on but what they will get “after” class today. Sure, you might be teaching the super man pole move, but after regardless of achieving the move, they’ll have a better understanding of coordinating their hips and their shoulders, they’ll learn some effective chest stretches that they can do in their regular day, and they are working towards sensitizing their thighs to this probably unusual and maybe discomforting sensation.
- Explain what about to happen: explain your class format. Some classes are follow-along, and some are teacher-demo then you do it style. Or maybe there’s a freestyle or exploration part or maybe they’ll be taking notes for the first half and then moving after. Let them know what to expect and how to get a hold of you if you have a concern or need a modification.
Let’s look at a short example of this:
“Welcome to my home studio folks, fun fact this used to be a garage! Because of that, the restrooms are down the hall past the tomatoes. My name is Colleen and we’ll be learning some cool, beginner-friendly moves on the hoop today, like we do every Monday! I hope you’re as excited as I am! After class today you’ll have a greater appreciation for how to move yourself and the apparatus at the same time. We’ll start with a warm-up to get you ready to move and then I’ll demo our entire sequence including the man in the moon, the amazon, and the hip hold. I’ll break them down one-by-one and then have you try them one-by-one before we put them together during our exploration at the end – it’s like a freestyle but using the moves you learned today! I’ll walk around to help everyone individually as you try the moves. If you need a modification or if something doesn’t feel right, you can flag me down or tell me when I’m over helping you personally. Y’all ready? Let’s go!
Is that too long for you? Too short? Did I miss something you always like to share before you start teaching? Comment below!