Ms. Infinity has been very busy of late.
Over the last year and a half (nearly), I am delighted to have gone from (nervous, uncertain, “Don’t look at me”) student, to (excited, hopeful, enthusiastic) instructor. Firstly, without the amazing guidance, support and trust of Pole Infinity and its instructors, I would certainly not have this jam-packed calendar with classes, training and teaching. I never thought these opportunities possible (‘It’s always the quiet ones…’ I’ve heard recently.) I am so looking forward to teaching and supporting lots of lovely ladies as they commence their pole journey, as new recruits and via the Recovery Programme.
As I begin my journey at ‘the other side of the pole’, I have been reflecting upon the last number of weeks and what I have learned about being a pole instructor. Some of these things I had observed or sensed already and others I have experienced in my ‘day job’, but nonetheless, they are all valuable and useful reminders to instructor, both veteran and virgin…
* There’s a lot of organisation involved.
Again, I know that in this type of environment, a lot goes on ‘behind the scenes’ and not everyone is aware of the time, effort and energy that goes into timetabling, planning, paper-work and general administration. What I have witnessed is a lot of ball-juggling(!) (not literal… actually, there’s an idea…), spread-sheeting and late-night communicating from the, already incredibly busy, Victoria and Karen. Oh, add to the organisation and admin: a lot of patience…
*The girls rely on and support each other.
Karen and Victoria have always emphasised that Pole Infinity works due to ‘the team’. I can verify the truth in this. We are all human (at least I think – the jury’s out on KB…) and sometimes need our fellow ‘sisters’ to step-in, swap a class or help out. It seems that everybody is willing to offer their time, suggestions or advice when required. As talented and fabulous as the Pole Infinity instructors are, they keep learning from each other (I, for one, will need a bucket-load of this), without judgement or insecurity. Generally in life, we should all ask for help and advice if needed and this definitely applies in this Studio.
Music is very important to me anyway as it formed much of my teenage years. A pole playlist is like the equivalent of a ‘80s/ ‘90s mixed tape! Whilst sometimes you may not even notice the background music, when it stops, the silence/ absence of music is certainly felt – especially if someone is attempting a move with all eyes on them! I have heard cries of, ‘Put on something more upbeat’ and ‘What’s a good pole song?’ on many occasions. It’s fun to think of songs that everyone (hopefully) will enjoy and will provide an appropriate backdrop to your pole lesson. (I have also learned: ‘The Beastie Boys’ is not conducive to cooling down 🙂 )
*Use your personality.
I have had this conversation with my ‘other’ colleagues on several occasions. It can take a while to realise that you shouldn’t necessarily completely strive to imitate someone else. Your strengths and personality feed into your instruction/ teaching. For some this might be through humour; being open and honest; sharing experiences; ‘tough love’; silliness (or all of the above!) You have to be ‘you’, as much as is possible, and your teaching style will emerge.
*A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.
Do we ever grow out of getting rewards, praise, pats on the back…? I don’t think so! In a society which can be jealous, insecure and self-centred, do not under-estimate the power of a, ‘Well done’… ‘I knew you could do it’… ‘How good was that?’… ‘You look amazing’. You don’t know what is going on in someone’s head – they could be deflated; comparing themselves to someone else, or insecure about their body or ability – sometimes a gentle nudge (usually metaphorically), kind word or encouraging smile can make a huge difference. I have also found that the aforementioned ‘gentle nudge’ to step, even slightly, out of the cosy comfort zone to try something new – having a photograph taken, for example – can be effective, powerful even, in providing a little boost. As the saying goes, ‘Big journeys begin with small steps’.
*And last, but not least…
Respond to Victoria!!!
These are SOME of my observations and thoughts as a soon-to-be instructor and I know there will be much more to learn, as my pole journey continues. Feel free to comment and share any other advice or tips! (Also, I could probably write a full post on warm-ups… That’s for another day!)