On occasion, you may find yourself teaching a one time class, either through a studio you work at or as an independent teacher. This class may be a one time private event like a birthday party, corporate wellness event, hosted by a community center or something else. This week we explore some considerations for teaching one off classes, how to prepare for them, and the benefits these one off classes offer you as a teacher. Tune in!
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[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. I'm Olivia and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and the Pilates community on Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello. Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Today we're [00:01:00] gonna be talking about teaching one-off classes. We'll talk about what one-off classes are, why it's great to teach them, some considerations you might have when you teach them, and some programming strategies for your classes when you are teaching a one off class. Lots of good stuff to get into here.
[00:01:25] So what is a one-off class? Now, it could be a single class or it could be a class series, but the big differentiation between a one-off class and like a recurring group class or a recurring private class is that it's only happening either once or for like a short series, something like this.
[00:01:46] So maybe this is a corporate event and you are going in and teaching a Pilates class, like at a business and it's just happening once. [00:02:00] Or maybe you are doing something for a season, like it's like a summer class that's happening in the park. I would still consider that to be a one-off class, but a series. It could be a single class that is promoting the opening of a new studio. It might happen in a fitness or active wear company. It might happen for a holiday, something like a Halloween themed class, or you're celebrating Pilates Day and doing a one-off class. You could be teaching a class at a conference, or it could be at a college, like leading up to finals. Sometimes they do wellness weeks and you're just gonna teach this single class. Could be for a birthday party or a bachelorette party. Maybe it's even an audition class that you would like to teach at a studio, and you're auditioning, so you're teaching this one time class for them to kind of evaluate if you're a good fit for the studio.
[00:02:58] Whatever the specific [00:03:00] circumstances are of this one-off class, you're just gonna teach this one or maybe this couple, or I would say the longest I would call a one-off class would be like if you were doing it for like a summer thing or a winter thing or something like that. But it's very contained. It's not gonna go on indefinitely.
[00:03:18] Uh, when you teach group classes and you sign up to teach Monday nights, the expectation is you will teach that Monday night until the end of time, or until your schedule changes and you're unable to teach it. But every Monday night, the expectation is that you'll be at the studio teaching that class, or if you have a standing appointment with a client and they're always there Tuesdays at 9:00 AM. If it's Tuesday at 9:00 AM, the expectation is that that class is happening unless you say otherwise.
[00:03:48] There are lots of great things about one-off classes and a lot of reasons why I think teaching them it can be a lot of fun and really valuable. Uh, [00:04:00] one thing is you get to teach people who aren't already in your classes. So sometimes you're going out into a community center or a church or a business, and these might be people who can definitely benefit from Pilates but aren't at your studio already. So you're really getting this opportunity to kind of showcase yourself and share Pilates. And potentially people fall in love with it because Pilates is pretty easy to fall in love with, and then they wanna hang out with you and you've got more bodies in your classes. Amazing.
[00:04:33] You get to build relationships with people in the community, maybe the people who are setting up this event, or maybe you are building it with a clothing brand. I know a lot of activewear clothing stores will host classes in their store, and then you get a discount to like get new leggings if you'd like after the class. So that's really awesome. You get to build relationships with, uh, brands or with people [00:05:00] who have a lot of overlapping interest and a big overlapping market of people.
[00:05:06] It gives you an opportunity to experiment, potentially, with your classes because these are people that may never see you again. You can try something new without an expectation of, well, this is how your class always is. Like, how would you know? This is the only time I'm teaching this class. So the world is really your oyster, uh, flip side of that. Equally, a pro I would say, is that you could have a set class that you teach. This is your one-off class. Whenever I go teach a mat class, this is the one-off class that I teach. And no one's going to know the difference because you're teaching them in different places to different people, and you can have this set class that's totally your jam and you, this is what you teach. So that's kind of awesome as well.
[00:05:54] A lot of times in one-off classes, because you are very likely traveling to a location to do the [00:06:00] class, especially if you're doing it for some corporate adventure or for a party or something, it's likely that you'll be paid more per hour than you would be if you were teaching your regular classes. Because there's something about, you know, teaching this one class, this like one time event that you usually do get paid a bit more. That's not always the case, but oftentimes it is. So the cost for your hour and the cost for your time tends to be a bit higher.
[00:06:32] There are some considerations that you do wanna keep in mind because you hear that and you're like, holy moly, why am I not teaching one-off classes like all the time? That sounds great. Like I'd love to meet new people and expand my audience and introduce more people to Pilates and make more money. Like that sounds pretty good.
[00:06:50] It's hard, I would say, it's challenging to make a living off of just one-off classes. Um, and that is because there is a [00:07:00] lot of behind the scenes time liaising and finding these opportunities, potentially applying to these opportunities. And if you're organizing it, even more stuff that happens behind the scenes to have this one time class happen.
[00:07:15] So if you're organizing it on your own, you're not just teaching the class, you're also corresponding with the venue and the liaisons with the company. And what are they looking for in this class? And let's find a time that works for everybody. What? What equipment is available? Do we need to advertise for it? You've gotta set it up, you've gotta break it down. You've gotta schlep mats. On top of that, there's all of the behind the scenes that there is whenever we host a class around payment processing and getting people signed in and liability waivers, plus who you're going to be teaching and then planning or adjusting your class so that it's an appropriate level of intensity, challenge, and doability for the people who are gonna be there.[00:08:00]
[00:08:00] All of that administrative work that we know is a part of teaching is unpaid. So when you get paid more for that class, it could be because some of this behind the scenes, even if you're just emailing back and forth with the event coordinator to make sure that you're there at the right time and that you've got what you need and you know what the sound setup is like, there's so much minutiae that goes into it, and all of that administrative work is unpaid. It's included in the, I'm showing up and teaching a class.
[00:08:29] Reoccurring classes and private appointments that you might have had that administrative work in it as well. So it's not saying that like, oh, you never have to worry about anything when you have privates or group classes. All of the administrative work has happened for those classes, but because the class is reoccurring then you don't need to do it every single time. You just did it when you were introducing the client to the studio. You get them into your schedule. Then you have a standing appointment, and then administratively, you don't have to manage as [00:09:00] much because you did it upfront and then you go from there. When it's a one-off, every single time is that upfront organizing. So that's something to keep in mind.
[00:09:10] Another thing that's really great about it is because it's only happening once or it's happening for a short period of time, is that you can be potentially more flexible with your scheduling. So I would say, not as a rule, but as a almost rule, I don't wanna have a group class or a private session that happens every single weekend.
[00:09:34] I try to keep my Saturdays and Sundays open. Uh, my partner works in nine to five and it's nice to have downtime to spend with them, and I, you don't even need to make excuses for that. You can just say, I don't wanna teach on Saturdays. But sometimes when it's a one-off class and you're just gonna be teaching it this one time on Saturday, you might be available to do that, but you don't wanna sign off your Saturdays forever until the end of time teaching. [00:10:00] But you could do it this one time for this one time. So I think that that's a great thing about it. And I'm totally open to teach on a Saturday or a Sunday, but I don't wanna teach on every Saturday and every Sunday, if that makes sense.
[00:10:16] And the fact that there's more administrative work happening behind the scenes in this class is not to discourage you from doing it, or if you work at a studio and sometimes organizations will contact the studio and say, Hey, do you have someone who could come teach a class on Friday night, we're doing a happy hour Pilates class or something. It's not saying that you shouldn't do that class. Like it can be a ton of fun and there's lots of perks to it that I've mentioned, but it is worth keeping in mind that there is a little bit more planning that happens and just like communicating because it hasn't happened before to get everyone on the same page just takes a little bit of back and forth.
[00:10:56] As you heard from the examples I listed at the start of this [00:11:00] episode, there are lots of reasons why you might be asked to teach a one-off class. It might be through the studio and they're looking for someone to teach a class. It might be someone from the community who knows you or is been to your class and is like, Hey, can you come teach a class at my church? We're doing something. Like it could literally be anything. There are so many reasons. There's infinite reasons. I've only scratched the surface of reasons why you'd want to have a one-time Pilates class.
[00:11:27] But whatever reason, whatever purpose that this class has is going to shape how you plan for and how you execute the class. So someone saying, Hey, I'm having a bachelorette party. I'd love to have a Pilates class for our wellness weekend is gonna be different than someone who's. Hey, I would really love a Pilates class to happen at this retirement center, and I'd love to do chair Pilates. Is that something you'd be able to do? So those are gonna be two different classes.
[00:11:56] Coming up after the break. I'm gonna talk a little bit more about those [00:12:00] programming considerations as well as some experience that I've had teaching those one-off classes. What I love about it, what can be a bit challenging, and we'll go from there. That's coming up next.
[00:12:15] Hi there. I hope you're enjoying today's chapter so far. There's great stuff coming up after the break too. Be sure to subscribe wherever you're listening and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one-time donation or become a member for as little as $5 a month.
[00:12:35] Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shoutout in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates to check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now back to the show.[00:13:00]
[00:13:12] As I mentioned before, the break every class you teach is going to have a different goal and a different purpose, and you wanna get really clear on what that goal is as you're planning the class so that when you show up to teach this class, you are meeting the expectations of the person or organization that's hired you and also so that you can make this one-off class really special for the people who are in attendance.
[00:13:41] So sometimes corporate adventures at schools, they just want a mat Pilates class and they just want it to be this feel good movement adventure that they're offering for their students or their employees or whoever that they're doing it for. So can I give you a [00:14:00] random, however many minute long Pilates class? Like heck yes, I can. Of course, I can.
[00:14:06] Oftentimes it's going to be a mat class. Unless you are teaching at a Pilates studio, you probably won't have all of the equipment. You may have small props available. Like sometimes if you teach in dance studios or gyms, they might have small balls. They might have small weights. They might have, I feel like magic circles a bit of a stretch. I don't know if I've ever been to a gym that had a magic circle, but it's very likely that it's gonna be a mat class. It's very likely it's not gonna have a lot of props, so that's another thing to keep in mind.
[00:14:38] But sometimes the class that they're looking for is just a Pilates class, that there isn't anything specific. It's not for a specific population potentially. You can definitely ask the person like, Hey, like who are we looking at attending? Like what age are they? Like how active are they? Are we looking for a more beginner, foundational class. Are we looking for a [00:15:00] sweaty flow? Because you know that, we know that Pilates can be anything, so, but the people hiring us don't always know that, so it's good to ask those questions when, uh, this process gets started.
[00:15:12] Are you gearing this class towards a specific population? Are they college students? Are they retirees in like an active living community? Is this a church? Is this a class that happens in the park and they do, you know, free classes in the park happens, uh, at Millennium Park in Chicago over the summer. Like, could it literally be anyone? Like what kind of people are we looking for? Am I gearing this towards new moms? Am I gearing this towards, you know, people who are working with low back pain? Like is there a specific audience? We want to know, is this a marketing class? Is this a promotional class? Are you promoting a studio or a clothing brand because it's happening in their store or something like that?
[00:15:58] If it's an audition and you're [00:16:00] auditioning to be a teacher, I would consider that to be a marketing class, but you are marketing yourself. You're selling yourself as a teacher who would be a good fit for the studio. We wanna know about the intensity of this class. Are we looking to make people shake and sweat and feel really challenged? Or are we looking for a very feel good, more gentle type of class? Not saying that one is better than the other, or that you should teach one or another, but what is the expectation so that you can meet it? It's easier to meet expectations when you know what they are.
[00:16:31] Another thing I said before the break is you could teach the same one-off class. You could have just this class that's planned in the back of your brain that as soon as someone says, Hey, can you teach a class at this dance studio? And you're like, heck yes I can. I could teach it right now if you wanted me to. So the class itself could have the same exercises, it could have the same flow, the same order loosely.
[00:16:53] We know that even when we teach the same thing twice, it's never exactly the same. But we also wanna know those things about our audience so [00:17:00] we can gear our class towards the people who are in the class. We want it to feel special to them. So if you're celebrating someone's birthday, you want to know whose birthday it is and you know, give the birthday girl or guy or whoever some love, right?
[00:17:18] If you are helping kids who are in college de-stress during finals week. Like we can throw in some jokes about how awful finals are and that you hope everyone's getting some sleep and that, you know, next week this will all be over. You know, like you wanna know those things because it's just gonna personalize your class. And even though it is, you know, the same class, uh, it's still very unique to the people that you're teaching.
[00:17:47] Things to keep in mind also as you're programming your class or as you're maybe writing out this class that you are ready to teach at the drop of a hat whenever you need to, is that super complex [00:18:00] choreography and fancy transitions may not be the best time to unveil them because you don't know who you're going to get. I always think that keeping it simple is better. I think that making the progressions very logical is better.
[00:18:18] Anything that feels intuitive. I think a lot about body position changes. Like what is a smooth transition here? Like do I wanna go to a four point knee to lying on my back? Maybe not. Maybe I go four point knee to lying on my stomach. Of course, we know that we can make any transition we want smooth, but when you don't have to fight against what people think is going to happen, if you can go the direction that they think you're going, it's just like the path of least resistance. It's easier to manage and guide when it seems like it makes sense.
[00:18:50] Again, because you don't know who you're gonna get. You wanna give lots of options, lots of layers. You want to have progressions and modifications for every [00:19:00] exercise that you teach so that everyone feels challenged, but everyone also feels successful because I think the overarching goal in any class you teach is that people feel good. People enjoy themselves. People like Pilates. At the end of it, they're not like, oh my gosh, I could never do that. They're not like, So hard and they don't feel, you know, defeated, but they really feel invigorated. That could just be me, but I think that that's kind of the tone that you're going for, especially in a one-off class, as I mentioned.
[00:19:31] What props do you have? Potentially no props, potentially just a mat on the floor. So really thinking about people's comfort as well as, you know, what options can you give people without props? I think we love props as Pilates teachers because they can make exercises so much more accessible. They can really help you get into your rollup if you're propped up in your upper back. But if you don't have a prop and you wanna [00:20:00] teach the rollup, what is a way you can teach it that people still feel successful and are able to execute a version of the exercise and feel good about themselves as they do it?
[00:20:11] And then thinking about how can you weave in your message for the class, whether it's thanking your sponsors or whether it's showcasing, you know, the shapes in Pilates, if you're doing a Pilates Day class. Can you talk about Joseph Pilates and his influence in modern physical culture? Like how can you weave the secondary messages in into your class as well? And that goes a long way to personalizing it as I said.
[00:20:42] You also, when you're, you know, going to these classes, going to teach these classes, you always wanna be early, you wanna be flexible. I'll share an experience I had this past weekend. Um, I'm going to be teaching at Club Pilates in the South Loop when it opens. And they've been hosting some one-off classes around the city [00:21:00] to you know, invite people to try Pilates. Maybe people who are already members at the studio because it hasn't opened yet. They can take this free class and you know, bring your own mat and get some Pilates in before the studio officially opens.
[00:21:13] And this past weekend was also the Shamrock Shuffle. So there were all of these road closures. Shamrock Shuffle is a race that happens in Chicago. I don't know how long it is, if it's a 5K or a 10K, or I don't think it's a full marathon, but it's like the opening race season for runners in Chicago and there's all these road closures. And I was going to the, to teach this class on Sunday and the bus like turned on the freeway and went this weird way, and then I was not where I thought I was gonna be, and I didn't know where the bus was gonna stop. And I was like, oh my gosh.
[00:21:48] So be early because you never know , you never know, uh, and especially going to a new place, you just always wanna be a little bit early and be flexible because you don't know exactly what you're gonna get. [00:22:00]
[00:22:00] But it's so fun. I think teaching one-off classes are so fun. You get to meet new people, you get to answer people's, you know, burning Pilates questions, which is always super fun. And introduce people to what is a pretty cool way to exercise and way to feel good and strong and flexible and coordinated, and all of the great things that we know Pilates does. We just get to share it with people who may not otherwise get to try it.
[00:22:27] I do think that as a teacher you should think about doing these one-off classes and if your studio ever asks, or if you're, you know, ever talking with friends and this opportunity arises as it does, I think you should jump on that opportunity because it can be really rewarding and it's valuable, I think, as a teacher to be able to teach different classes to different people and to just be really kind of ready for anything. So I think that it's pretty darn neat myself.
[00:22:59] [00:23:00] Really big thank you to all of the supporters on Buy Me A Coffee. Thank you always for supporting the project. Huge thank you as well to our newest supporter. I didn't get your name, but you're Forever Yoga, and I really appreciate you tuning in and buying me a coffee. I appreciate it so, so much. Have a great couple weeks everybody. I can't wait to talk to you soon.
[00:23:29] Thanks for listening to this week's chapter of Pilates Teachers' Manual, your guide to becoming a great Pilates teacher. Check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesteachersmanual, and be sure to subscribe wherever you listen. For more Pilates goodness, check out my other podcast, Pilates Students' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
[00:23:53] The adventure continues. Until next time.