One of the things I love about what I do is I am helping people feel good about themselves, recover from injuries, redefine their bodies and find their physical and also emotional strength. While not everyone loves working out as much as I do, I would say my clients are happy to be here in my home studio. That makes me feel good. They choose 12South Pilates and they choose me. I work hard to offer my best and keep learning and growing for them.
Last week while several of my clients were away on spring break, I covered a couple mat Pilates classes for another instructor at a local gym. The first class went well and I was treated to lots of positive feedback from the students. The second class – well that was a different story. About a quarter of a way through this class, one woman got up and walked to the back of the room and grabbed a large yoga bolster. I always offer modifications and ask students to speak up if they need even more. This woman did not say a word. Half way through class, this woman loudly got up stomped across the class in front of me and all the other students. Violently flung her mat back on the rack and then threw the exercise band at me!! After that she grabbed her stuff and stomped out. I was shocked and thrown for a second. I’ve never experienced such incredibly rude behavior from a grown woman. She has children and I can only imagine what kind of example she is setting for her kids. For a split second I thought “what did I do wrong?” The reality is I was teaching classic Pilates with integrity and attention to detail. I have long suspected the instructor I was subbing for is not really trained in Pilates. I suspect this class being legitimate Pilates was not what she expected or wanted. Regardless that does not justify such rude behavior.
I too have taken classes that I have not loved. I’ve taken classes that I have found to be potentially dangerous and I have quietly modified the movements to be better for me. I’ve found instructors that I like better than others. I don’t expect everyone to love me or my style. But I do expect to be treated with respect. I would hope all of you would be respectful too. Show your displeasure if you must by not returning.
While this was not a positive experience, I did take away a positive from it! At the end of class the other students were complimentary. And I thought about the class – should I have done things differently? How am I doing as an instructor or communicator? At the end of it – I feel good about what I have to offer and would not have changed a thing! It’s good to have that reality check I suppose. And it’s also good not to put too much weight or waste time letting one critic affect me.