Friday, November 21, 2008

Team Teaching - When More than One Works

Team teaching is an alternative to having one instructor the entire class. Team teaching works well with extended rides. Extended rides are usually held around the holidays or some other celebration. To be successful, the team of instructors must work well together and have complimentary styles.

When deciding if you want to team teach at your facility, you must consider who is on the team or who you will ask to teach with you. Consider the following when deciding if you want to team teach:
  1. Do all instructors follow the indoor cycling program your facility teaches? Does everyone teach without using contraindicated or made-up movements? You may have to take a class or two from the other instructors to determine if you want to teach on the same team. You don't want to find out they are instructing with unsafe movements prior to your team teaching experience.
  2. What are the teaching styles of the other instructors? Are their styles similar, completely different, or complimentary to your own style of teaching? Evaluate how your style of teaching will fit with the team. You may be drastically different than your fellow teachers and it may or may not work. Decide for yourself it it works.
  3. Can the other instructors adapt to any circumstance thrown their way? Not everything works as planned. Evaluate how they handle situations like students arriving late to class, a stereo or microphone malfunction, or students that ride their own ride.
  4. Have you worked with any of the other instructors before? This is similar to knowing how they teach. If you have worked with any of the other team members, recall how that experience worked for you. You want to have an enjoyable experience. If you do not work well with any of the other instructors, then you must decide if it will ruin your day or be evident to the students you have an issue with an instructor.
  5. Will the feelings (or egos) of other instructors be hurt if they were not asked to participate? Consider how you will feel if you were excluded. Know that they may feel some resentment and animosity toward the instructors on the team.
  6. Will all of the instructors step-up and help out with the ride? You need to make sure that the other instructors will support you when you teach. They must be respectful of your segment and let the participants ride. The other instructors should be willing to assist you whenever you need something such as water, towel, or help with the stereo equipment. When you teach, delivering a safe ride for your participants is all you should be concerned about. Your other teammates should take care of everything else.
  7. Will the instructors selected check their egos at the door or use this as an opportunity to show up the other members of the teaching team? You may not know how others will react once in a group setting. If you feel that any of the team will try to capture and not share the spotlight, consider sitting the event out. When all instructors have checked their egos at the door you know they are there for the right reason.
When you consider these factors, a ride can be flawless and enjoyable for both the participants and the instructors. Carefully planning the ride will prevent members from feeling like they are just at a dog-and-pony show. All instructors must be there for the right reason -- the participants.

The Rock n' Roll Ride
I am fortunate to work with three unbelievable instructors. We all happen to teach the 6:00 AM classes at the same club and do not get much exposure to the other time slots unless we sub for someone. Something just clicks when whenever the four of us get the chance to teach a ride together. Saturday, we had the opportunity to teach a two-hour Rock n' Roll Band theme ride.

Tom, Renee, Alice and I each had 1/2 hour to play our favorite rock tunes, well at least the ones that you can ride to and play in a mixed company crowd. You can download our play list by clicking here. The ride was a sell out earlier this week so we knew we had to give it our all since it had been promoted for several weeks. This was our opportunity to teach to a full class, something we don't see at 6:00 AM. All of us usually have a half-full class that early in the morning, so this was our opportunity to give people a reason to show up at 6:00 AM. We were excited, the members were excited, and we had a great plan to give our students the best ride possible

The ladies had to teach elsewhere earlier in the morning so Tom and I got to be the "warm-up bands" for this ride. I lead off with some of my favorite tunes, of which some I've used in class before, but never at this studio nor all in the same profile. I extended the warm up time and tried to keep them in their aerobic zone.

Tom was next and he built on the foundation I laid down. Tom took their efforts a little higher and built upon the first 1/2 hour. The students were primed and ready for the headline acts to follow.

Well the ladies showed up and Tom and I stepped aside. Alice and Renee knew how to pump up the audience. It was a great thing just to watch them work the crowd. Unfortunately, the microphone went out during the second last segment so Alice and Renee had to shout over their music. Yet despite this setback, they still delivered a rockin' ride.

The ride was a hit with our participants. The team of instructors circulated and made sure that all of the participants water bottles were full. When the microphone went out, one instructor tried to fix it, while another went to locate the director to track down a spare. We worked well together and are planning our next event.

This ride was a great opportunity for us to give our participants a two-hour ride with a central theme. The participants rocked, the music rocked, and my fellow teammates rocked.

Well done Alice, Renee and Tom!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Ralph, the team teaching is a great post! We have mostly newbies at our place, and so we are still "working up" to the longer classes. We will definitely be doing one of these soon (our facility is still just 1 yr old). Also, I see from the description of your blog that our interests are very much aligned - wanting to share both about Spinning and outdoor riding. I hope you'll give my new site a look and perhaps we can help each other. Keep up the good work!