I was late getting to spin class today. It wasn’t that I was actually late for the start of class, just late for me to get set up, establish my routine, and get organized and ready to learn (sound familiar?). As I rushed into the room, I froze. Laura wasn’t there. According to the schedule, she should’ve been my instructor, but I had a sub!
As I got settled onto my bike, I felt a bit panicky. Would this new teacher know that I was trying my hardest but just couldn’t keep up yet? Would she understand that I’m still having a hard time standing on the pedals? Is she going to be one of those instructors who screams?! I really am that kid! The one who doesn’t adjust well to a new routine. The one who struggles if there isn’t consistency of procedures. As I tried to follow this new woman’s warm ups, I felt completely out of balance; and, for the first time in years, I remembered what it was like to transition from one teacher to the next in school….
Don’t Scare the Kids!
If we asked some of our students to describe what happens in the teachers’ lounge before the start of the school year, I bet they picture something closer to the Scare Floor from Monsters, Inc.
I mean, that’s all I could focus on during the first five minutes of the class. For some schools, this is actually the last week of classes. (We won’t talk about when school finally lets out here in New England thanks to the snow days.) So, now that I’ve recovered from my trepidation of the morning, I have a few coherent suggestions to offer up based on my 1-hour of having to transition to a new instructor.
1. Share your routine
Currently, do your students all know exactly what you expect when they walk into class? Is homework always posted the same way? Do you ask for assignments to be shared in a consistent manner? Why not let the next teacher know what your students already do well. The first week of school is already stressful for everyone, why not have some since of familiarity as students transition from one set of expectations to the next.
2. Incorporate familiar vocabulary
Last week, I wrote about the importance of watching what you say. Today’s instructor described things differently. While I finally figured out what it was that she wanted us to do – I’m capable of looking up and pedaling now – I second guessed myself for the first part of the class. When she did finally use a word that I already knew, I felt exuberant about being able to apply something familiar.
3. Lead with clearly articulated expectations
I will say, this new instructor did a really nice job of identifying our objectives. She began the day by stating the focus for the hour and then reinforced the goals of each task at each stage of the class. At least, there were no surprises.
And so, I survived another spin class. Once I got over my trepidation, it was a good hour – though I really missed my fist bump at the end.