Pilates teachers need a break too! Piggybacking on the last episode, this episode explores everything you need to do to take some time off. We look at how to secure coverage for your group classes and private sessions, the best practices for informing and rescheduling your personal private clients, and some tips and tricks to make the most of your time off. 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 b uymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. Today's chapter starts now.
[00:00:56] Hello. Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:00] Today's episode is very topical for me because I am going on my first ever adult, not visiting family, not going somewhere for work, vacation. So today's episode is all about the art of taking time off to have a vacation when you are a Pilates teacher.
[00:01:20] This also ties in really well with last episode, talking about how to be an awesome sub and the etiquette of covering classes for other teachers. And I just thought this tied in really well and because it is an immediate thing that's going on in my life, um, I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks when it comes to taking time for yourself to recharge your batteries and go on vacation.
[00:01:48] It can be hard to take a vacation when you love your job. And I think as Pilates teachers, we really love what we do. We really see the value that we bring to our clients' lives, [00:02:00] and we and love Pilates. We just really enjoy it. And so taking a vacation can feel even harder when you love what you do.
[00:02:08] Also, our job is in a lot of ways, other people's leisure time. They have a job and then they come see us, and then the seeing us is our job. So it can be hard to get away because you know that your other people's get away from their daily, uh, responsibilities and work and all of that stuff. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't take time off. I think you definitely should, but I definitely recognize those struggles of not wanting to leave your clients and not wanting to take a break sometimes, even when you need it.
[00:02:47] Some of the things that I told myself leading up to this trip was that taking this time, taking this very well deserved break makes you a better teacher. When you're able to recharge and [00:03:00] sort of refill your cup, it makes it easier to give your time and your energy to other people, your clients, the studios you work at, when you are doing that from a really good place and you're feeling really good.
[00:03:15] Another thing that I've reminded myself is that our clients don't consult us when they're taking vacations. They just say, Hey, I'm gonna be gone in July. I'm going to Michigan, and I'll see you in August. You know, like, We also deserve to have time. And while we love our clients and our clients love us, it is nice to know that we can take that time. Um, sometimes it feels like, you know, that time is sacred for them and it's not an abandoning thing that we're doing. We are, you know, trying to be our best selves, and part of that is having time to ourselves where we don't have to be anything to anyone else but ourselves.[00:04:00]
[00:04:00] So how you get coverage for your classes and how you maybe even tell people that you're going on vacation or however, you are laying out the groundwork of going on vacation, which like all things doesn't involve just the time that we're gone, but also quite a bit leading up to it.
[00:04:20] It's gonna depend on your teaching situation. If you're teaching group classes at a studio, or if you're teaching one-on-one sessions in a studio, or if you have your own business or you have your own clients or your own classes that you're totally running solo. All of that is gonna have a little bit different way of organizing vacation time. So in this first bit here, we'll talk about what to do when you're working at a studio, and then we'll also talk about, we'll also talk about when you have your own business and your own clients and some things to do while you're on vacation, some things to do when you get back from your vacation. [00:05:00] So a little bit of everything.
[00:05:02] When you work at a studio and you have group classes on the schedule that happen every week at the same time, often with very similar people - you do get your crew of people who come to a certain class at a certain time, you've got your regulars - advance notice is key. So whenever you have group classes at a studio, it's most often, in my experience, it's your responsibility to get those classes covered. Uh, for whatever reason, if you're taking a trip, that's awesome, but you need to find someone to cover your classes.
[00:05:36] More than two weeks notice is ideal. I would go so far as to say month's notice if you can. If this is a trip that you're planning, there's no reason why you can't start looking for coverage as soon as you know that you're gonna be taking that trip and that you're gonna be missing some of your classes.
[00:05:53] You can try swapping shifts with other teachers. You might reach out to them and say, Hey, I'm gonna be [00:06:00] gone on Thursday. If you cover that Thursday block, or if you can cover that Thursday block, I'd love to cover you back on a Saturday. Or I'd love to cover you back on your Wednesday night if your schedule allows. It can be easier to get coverage with when there's a trade off. I don't think every coverage needs to be a trade off necessarily, but that's one thing that you can offer. And that's also nice because then you are making a similar amount of money. Like if you were teaching uh, three classes on Thursdays, and then you're covering someone else's classes on Wednesdays, like they're covering your classes and getting paid. You're covering their class and getting paid. We all get paid and it's nice. So that can be excellent because as Pilates teachers, we don't get paid time off, and if we don't teach classes, we don't make money. So for your financial bottom line, that can also be something we're thinking about.
[00:06:51] When it's really far in advance, I'll send out an email to teachers. Uh, some studios have an app that they use to request [00:07:00] coverage. You can do that. But I'd send out an email like way far in advance because you never know. People might be planning out their summer and then they can say, oh yeah, I can definitely cover that. Um, you might text teachers, you might talk to your friends who also teach in the area. Sometimes there are postings where you don't have to necessarily teach at the studio to cover the classes. You might be able to post with other local Pilates teachers and see if anyone is available, cuz the bottom line here is we're helping each other out.
[00:07:29] You know, if I'm going on vacation, I know that you're also gonna go on vacation. So if you are able to help me cover those classes, the idea is I'll also be able to help you cover your classes when you need it. Working at the studio there, usually studios wanna get everything covered. Again, in my experience.
[00:07:49] So group classes, they definitely want another instructor in there teaching them. They're not gonna cancel them just because you're on vacation. It's your job to get coverage for those classes.
[00:07:59] For [00:08:00] one-on-one sessions, you always wanna try to get those covered, but I recognize that those have a totally different dynamic. A lot of times when people do one-on-one sessions with us, even if it's in a studio and it's not our studio, uh, that we own, so you know, the studio is taking some cut of those one-on-one sessions. The studio usually wants them to happen. So I try to match my client with another teacher who teaches in a similar way to me, I clue that teacher in on, you know, what we're working on. I give them a really detailed program so they can just pretty much read off the paper and do the exercises that we'd been working on.
[00:08:43] But I also ask my clients if they're interested in working with another teacher, because sometimes the appeal of Pilates is also that they're working with you as a teacher and that can't be uh, always changed for another person. They might say, you know, I'm actually [00:09:00] more comfortable working with you. If you are not here this week, you know, I'll just skip this week and I'll work with you when you get back. That is a possibility. I don't fault clients who make that choice. I don't fault studios who say do your best to get it covered, but that is something to kind of negotiate when you're working for a studio and you're getting coverage.
[00:09:24] Once you get coverage for your one-on-one sessions or for your group classes, I do think it's a really nice thing to do as a teacher to hype up the teacher who's going to be covering your classes in your absence. Again, this isn't a competition. We're not looking to be a better teacher than the person who's covering the class or to do anything other than thank this teacher for helping you out when you're looking for coverage and letting your students know in advance. I usually say for group classes, I do like the week before. For private sessions. I might do it a little bit earlier.
[00:09:59] But just let [00:10:00] them know, Hey, you know, so-and-so's gonna be covering my classes while I'm out of town next week. They're awesome. You are gonna love them. You're in good hands. For my private clients, I let them know that I've told them what we're working on so that they are totally clued in, and they'll still have a great session. You'll still have a great class. You'll learn new things, you'll try new stuff, and it's gonna be awesome.
[00:10:20] Also, thank the teacher that's covering your classes. It doesn't have to be like a thank you note. Maybe that's too old school, but do thank the teacher. Like let them know, Hey, thanks for covering my classes. I really appreciate it and I hope to get you back, or can I swap a shift with you? Something like that. But it feels good to be acknowledged when you're helping someone. So acknowledge, be the acknowledged. It's awesome.
[00:10:43] For some teaching organizations, you might be able to pre-record content. I know I teach a couple classes online that I'm able to record and then post the videos for. That is awesome. You can't do that for a live class that happens in person, but you can [00:11:00] do it if you're teaching virtual classes.
[00:11:02] Coming up after the break, I'll talk a little bit more about working with your own clients for your own business and also tip centric for being on vacation, and then when you get back to make that transition back into teaching nice and smooth too. That's coming up next.
[00:11:24] 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.
[00:11:43] Membership comes with some awesome perks, including a shout out 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 [00:12:00] and love. Now back to the show.
[00:12:21] As you may know from other episodes, I do have my own micro business where I work one-on-one with clients and I see some people virtually. I see some people in person, but it is just me doing those classes. I don't have a studio or any other administrative help. It's me doing my little thing for those clients.
[00:12:42] I give at least two weeks notice and I send them an email that says, Hey, I'm gonna be out of town on these dates. These are the sessions that I am going to miss. Depending on what your vacation timeline looks like, you might be able to reschedule [00:13:00] some of your clients.
[00:13:01] So if you're taking a long weekend and you're gonna miss Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so you're missing clients on maybe Friday and Saturday, you might offer, I could meet you on Thursday instead, or I could see you on Monday when I get back. If your schedule allows, if their schedule allows ,the same way you would if you had a doctor's appointment or a dentist appointment or something where you're like, uh, I still wanna see you. I can't see you at this time. Is there another time nearby that would work?
[00:13:27] I've also worked with my clients for a long time, and I know their schedules a little bit, so I almost have a secondary time slot just in my head that I know well, if you can't do Thursday morning, you might be able to do Friday morning, or if you can't do in the morning, you're available in the afternoon. I think that just comes from working with and talking to your clients for a super duper long time. You don't have to already know that, but depending on your trip, if you're not going to be missing like a whole week, like you can't cram a whole week's worth of [00:14:00] appointments into one Saturday, you can try. I don't know if that's a good idea.
[00:14:03] But you might be able to just reschedule those clients, which is one of my favorite parts about working with people one-on-one is that you can just find a different time. That doesn't work in group classes, but it does work, uh, for one-on-ones.
[00:14:16] Another option, as I said, is you can just miss that session. Hey, I'm gonna be gone this week. I won't see you this week, but I look forward to seeing you when I get back. That is okay.
[00:14:27] You can offer to share your class plan with them. And I would say that this little star for this, little asterisk is that only offer to give your class plan to your clients if you have it readily accessible and they have expressed interest in using it because I don't want you to make up all of your class plans for your clients and then they don't look at it. They really didn't want it. Um, and you went into all this effort to make it for them.
[00:14:58] So depending on [00:15:00] the client, I may have some clients who love homework and will, you know, religiously follow exercise plans that I give them. I am happy to give them an exercise plan. I know it will help them while I'm gone, but some clients will just say, oh, have a great time. I'll see you when you get back. And that is also fine.
[00:15:17] I wouldn't ask anyone to cover my private clients that I see one-on-one myself because. As I said, it's the same at the studio. Sometimes people come to do Pilates with you because it's you like also, Pilates is amazing. Yes. But working with you is really valuable and important to them. So I wouldn't ask another teacher to cover those appointments unless a client had specifically requested it, um, which has not happened in my experience.
[00:15:47] Now that you've gotten coverage and rescheduled people, or let them know that you're gonna be missing certain appointments, you've let them know when you're going, when you're coming back, set an out of [00:16:00] office email that just automatically goes to whatever your work email is, so that if clients email you asking questions or anything comes up or you're getting work questions from the studio, that you have that out of office reply. It's amazing.
[00:16:17] Any calendars where people can book you, whether you use Acuity or MindBody or Club Ready, or Google Calendar or you have a Calendly app, whatever integration with your calendar, you have mark yourself as unavailable. Do not let some random person book in while you're on vacation. That is not great. And it's always awkward when you have to then email people and be like, oh, hey. Um, I know I said I was available at that time, but I wasn't. It happens, like obviously it happens. It's not the end of the world, but if you can avoid that and just be like, I'm unavailable. And I don't tell people why I'm unavailable, I just put unavailable. I like to be mysterious.
[00:16:57] Another thing that I highly recommend and I look forward to doing [00:17:00] is turning off your notifications. It's different if you are running the studio, but as a teacher, if you are not there, I don't think you need to be there, especially if you've notified everyone that you are on vacation. Honestly, be on vacation. Turn off your notifications, check your email when you wanna check it, not because, um, something came in that's demanding your attention. The goal of your vacation is not to work while you're on your vacation. You wanna actually be on vacation and turning off your notifications is a nice mandatory way to do that.
[00:17:32] When you come back from your vacation it, since you've told everyone that you were gone, maybe you told them where you were going or what you were doing. I always like to have one quick little story from my vacation that is gonna be like my vacation story that I share with people, like where I'm going. I'm gonna go to London in a couple weeks. And I'm gonna try to take a Pilates class. So if you're in London and you are a Pilates teacher or student and you have studio recommendations, do let me [00:18:00] know because I'm looking to take a class or two while I'm there.
[00:18:03] And I've already decided, because I plan everything significantly in advance, that that's what I'm gonna share with people that, oh, I got to try a Pilates class at this studio. It was so cool how they did this. Um, and then I'll just have that because everyone's gonna say, how was your vacation? And then you will have something to share with them. I know that I over plan a lot of social interactions, and that's not universal, but know that you're gonna get asked because you've notified everyone so clearly and completely that you're gonna be on vacation, that people are gonna ask about it. And so you wanna have a quick little tidbit to share.
[00:18:37] And check in with everyone. Check in with your private clients if they had an exercise plan. Ask them how it went. What did they notice? How are they feeling? If they're your group classes that you covered, check in with them. How was so-and-so when they covered your class? Did you love it? What was your favorite part? And you can also really frame that positively. The part that even though you were gone, they still did awesome things [00:19:00] like continue to hype that up. And whenever we can get people to focus on the positive, Pilates is already pretty darn positive, but if we can say like, what did you love about that class? Or what did you try that was new? You know, I'm so glad to be back and you know, I can't wait to build on that.
[00:19:15] You know, all of this stuff is great to do and then you'll be seamlessly back right where you left doing that awesome daily thing we do as Pilates teachers, helping people exercise and feel better and get stronger and do cool stuff. I'm super excited. I'm super excited to go on vacation and I'm really glad that I have reached a point in my career where it feels possible to go on vacation, but also that like, I don't think anything is universal. I don't think you have to grind as a new teacher and never take time off. I don't think that that's healthy. I think that's a good way to burn out.
[00:19:57] But I do recognize that [00:20:00] there is an aspect and you're a really new teacher of putting your time in and volunteering to cover those 6:00 AM classes that now I like look at and laugh where I'm like, yeah, there's no way that I'm covering that. Sorry. Um, so there's, there's a balance to be had. We don't wanna take advantage of other teachers and ask them to cover our classes all the time, but I do think that it's okay to get coverage sometimes, whether you're taking a trip or you're taking a mental health day, like it's all very valuable.
[00:20:32] So I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm sure I'll have some stuff to share because I am trying to take a Pilates class there and maybe it'll be, an exciting adventure in the podcast as well.
[00:20:43] Huge thank you to all the supporters on the podcast. I've loved having these coffee chats with you and checking in, seeing how you're doing. April and May had a joint newsletter that came out earlier this week. I look forward to seeing you either before or after I get back. So excited. Have a great couple of [00:21:00] weeks and I will talk to you again soon.
[00:21:10] 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. The adventure continues. Until next time.