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What do I mean? Well, most people can go in and teach a strength and conditioning or a kickboxing class and get away with it regardless of where their head space is at. You can be somewhat in a bad mood, tired, unhappy, or just not feeling it and get away with that. However, with a format like Zumba, you can’t really fake it. I’m sure that some do try, but it comes across in the work performance.
Why can’t you fake it? Well, though most classes should be fun and exciting, Zumba is a different type of fun and excitement. It is a cardio dance class that requires that you are in a good mood, upbeat, lively and projecting that super fun energetic vibe out to your participants.
Personally, I’d argue that the same applies to the other formats, but it’s much more important in Zumba. You can sort of get away with it in the other ones, not with this one.
I always advise people teaching any format, if you are not feeling it, then just stay home. Sub out the class, let someone else teach it and come back when you are ready. This applies to mental as well as physical well being. You can’t teach a proper class if you are exhausted or sick.
I’ve been asked to teach recently, after having taken 5am jiujitsu classes, and I said no. I didn’t have the energy required to teach after being up so early getting my butt whooped. It’s not fair to me or to the participants if I subbed a class and can’t perform at my highest level.
Last summer I had a few classes that I had taken over for a beloved instructor. By default I lost about half the class before they even gave me a chance. Then the ones who remained were clearly not happy that he left, and I could sense it in their energy.
As the good instructor that I am, I tried my best to deliver a fun, high quality class. However, I could tell that they weren’t happy, and this is turn made the class not fun for me.
I tried to stick it out, but after the summer schedule was over, I told our managers that I didn’t intend to continue teaching these classes over the winter schedule. They were not happy, but I insisted that they find someone else.
When I first started teaching, I said that the day it isn’t fun for me, I’ll stop. I had reached the point where I did not look forward to going to teach. That’s not cool at all. Most of my classes I’m excited for, I’m super stoked to get in there and dance or workout with my peeps. I didn’t feel that way with this class. I tolerated this for a few weeks as a professional courtesy, to allow them time to find a replacement and cause the weather wasn’t so horrendous. But there was no way I was waking up early on the weekend during those dark, cold winter months to go teach a class that doesn’t really want me to be there.
In case you haven’t realized this, I’m not in this field for the money. So as you can see, I genuinely practice what I preach. If I’m not feeling it, or capable of giving my best for whatever reasons, then I pull out. I’d advise any of you unhappy instructors to do the same. We know when you are faking and it makes you look really bad and incompetent. This applies to Zumba instructors more than anything. Love it or leave it, my friends!