A day in the life of a Pilates Teacher - Jo Curran
Come and check out Jo's day as a Pilates teacher.
Come and check out Jo's day as a Pilates teacher.
This is the start of a busy week for me! Mondays are always hectic as I teach three Pilates classes and have one personal training client using Pilates techniques. My classes are always full on Mondays. I think it's because people have over-indulged at the weekend and want to try and exercise some of it off!
So here's a summary of a typical Monday for me:
My first Pilates class is at a local community centre. It’s a mixed ability class and mainly elderly clients attend. I have 8 ladies and 2 gentlemen who come regularly each week. The class is run as a course and clients book for 6 consecutive weeks. This enables my participants to progress over a period of time and it reserves their place as spaces are limited. It also helps me to monitor my attendance levels, ensuring that hall hire costs are covered even when people are unable to attend.
I arrive early for my class to make sure the area is safe and clean. I then meet and greet my regulars with a friendly smile and determine if they have any new health issues since the last time I saw them. This particular group has been up and running for 12 months now. Some have been attending from the very beginning and others have recently joined so I need to offer various levels and alternative exercises in my classes to suit different abilities. As the majority of my regulars are elderly we spend a lot of time on postural alignment and mobilisation. I try not to change their positioning on the mat too often so they don’t have to keep getting up and down from the floor.
I love teaching this class and the participants are so appreciative of the time I spend with them all. I try to find out as much information as possible regarding my clients and their goals, so I always make sure we have a little one to one time first thing on Monday morning and we finish the session with a cup of tea and a chat! This social time is an important part of the session and I’m sure it encourages them to come back every week, which is essential to me.
My next class is a 45-minute improver session at a local health club and it’s aimed at post-natal clients. Working for a health club enables me to simply turn up and teach - all the advertising and marketing is done through the club and my role is to teach a Pilates class to their members.
I’m paid a fixed rate for the class and I invoice the health club on a monthly basis. The club has plenty of small equipment stored in the cupboards so I’m able to use this each week to vary my class and keep the members motivated to come back each week. I use dyna bands, foam rollers and small balls to aid alignment. New members often attend who have tried other Pilates classes within the club so I don’t always see the same faces each week. As such, I have to ensure that I adapt my teaching style to suit my audience. It’s my responsibility to motivate members to return to my class each week so attendance levels remain high as class numbers are constantly monitored by the Fitness Manager.
This is another string to my teaching bow. Every week I have a one-to-one session with John, a local businessman who suffers from poor posture and high levels of stress. I have to be flexible with my one-to-one clients and work around their busy schedules so the times can vary each week, although I make sure they fit around my classes.
I visit John at his own home. His wife is a stay-at home mum so she’s always at the house when I’m there and luckily he has plenty of space in his home so we can exercise safely. Exercising at his home saves me having to hire a studio or hall so it’s a cost effective teaching option for me and I can earn more teaching him than the fixed rate I receive from the health club.
John wants to learn more about nutrition so I have prepared some information for him over the weekend and we are going to look at his diet today. I’ll ask him to write a food diary for the week ahead and then I can analyse it with him the following week. One-to-one clients expect specific attention and I need to ensure I have the knowledge and expertise to be able to accommodate his needs. I also need to design his programme around his postural type and select exercises that will benefit him and improve his posture. My client has a kyphotic posture as a result of sitting at a desk all day and spending long hours driving for his job. I’ll need to choose Pilates exercises that will specifically help him to regain a more neutral alignment. He has been training with me for 3 months now and he is starting to really notice the benefits and rewards that Pilates can bring. It’s a satisfying feeling to know that I have been instrumental in helping him.
This is my own class and I advertise locally to attract people to attend it. I hire a hall every Monday evening and arrive early to unload my stereo, mats and bands from the car and ensure the heating is on! As it’s a regular booking I have my own key so I can let myself in and out. There’s a free car park for my participants and there is also a kitchen so I can offer drinks at the end of the class.
This mixed ability class has been running for nearly a year now and I’ve built up a good following of participants. Occasionally new people come along and tonight a lady will have a free trial. She informed me on the phone that she has a knee injury and recently had an operation. Some of the exercises will need to be adapted for her. I’ll need to do a little more planning and preparation for tonight’s class so she will have alternative exercises readily available. I will also spend some time researching the problem that she had so I’m more familiar with her circumstances.
I'm also going to prepare a new sequence for my class tonight. At the end of every class I teach the group a sequence of exercises that flow well into one another. This is a great way to finish the class before they unwind and stretch and the class really enjoy the sequencing.
Mondays are really busy for me and I enjoy the mixture of participants that I teach throughout the day. I plan and teach each class differently, adapting to the needs of each session. I meet new people and I have some great characters in my classes who are a pleasure to teach. I am responsible for helping people achieve optimal posture, correct muscle imbalances, improve strength, mobility and flexibility and improve overall health and well-being. There aren’t many jobs that offer as much variety and reward as mine!