Tips for successful online classes.
In the last few weeks the Pilates industry has had to change its way of doing business. Teaching online can seem daunting, especially if you’ve been thrown in at the deep end. Here are some simple tips to help you navigate your way for online success
Before you start
- Ask a family member or friend to Zoom/Skype with you to check they can see you and hear you.
- Check your lighting. Lighting your mat/face from in front of the camera makes a clearer picture. You can always invest in a Ring light to improve the quality of your picture.
- Keep your background and surrounding as simple as possible so it doesn’t distract the class.
- Wear close fitting clothes so the viewer can see your movements clearly.
- Pin your lesson plan where you can easily reference it, but out of sight of your class.
- Keep your laptop/phone plugged in…or your cables close by…you don’t want to run out of battery five minutes before the end of your session. (I’ve experienced that one…never again!)
- If you are using your phone, a tripod is really useful to ensure your camera is still and stable for the duration of filming. hama.co.uk make good reasonably priced tripods.
- When teaching a one-to-one session where your client will need little/no demonstrating, stand up and place your camera at head height. This helps you to remember to look after your own posture whilst teaching and project your voice better.
- Make sure you send out your ‘online class waiver’ with plenty of time for it to be returned prior to class.
- Check what props your class have available to them. If you will be using props, include that information when you send out the class link so participants have them ready.
- Go to the loo before you start hosting the class and make sure you have water available.
- Be online ten minutes before the start of class to trouble shoot any issues that may arise and to chat with people.
- Welcome and acknowledge everyone for taking part.
- Start on time and end on time, just as you would in your studio.
- Imagine you are talking to someone in the same room and address participants personally.
- Watch your volume! You may need to ‘project’ your presence but that doesn’t necessarily mean louder! Avoid shouting as this will exhaust you, potentially damage your voice and could put you out of action for future classes.
- Mute participants or ask everyone to mute their screens during class to keep extraneous noises to a minimum. I prefer to ask participants to mute their own device incase they need to speak to me during the class…but make it clear that is only if really necessary!
- Keep a clock near your computer you can easily see. This will help you run to time without having to obviously check your watch!
- Make sure you can clearly see your class, if necessary ask participants to move their mats. Mats placed horizontal to the camera generally offer the best teaching view.
- Lead the class from your mat, but also take the time to watch and offer corrections when necessary. Set your group up with an exercise they are familiar with so you can observe.
- Offer encouragement to all class members to remind them that you are watching and are involved in their workout.
- A personal mention for each participant is a wonderful way to keep a group together and offers a more personal touch.
- Have fun! If you are enjoying yourself and engaging with your group it will come across to the class.
- If something goes wrong or your forget your lesson plan ( see above!) don’t sweat it! Laugh, carry on and your class will love you for it!
- Take a moment at the end of class to thank everyone for coming and give everyone time to say goodbye.
- Remind them to sign up for class next time!
And finally – do not undervalue your teaching skills
You are a professional teacher who has spent time developing your teaching skills and passion. Teaching online does not lower your ability to teach or prevent you from doing an excellent job. If anything, teaching online makes you lift your teaching as you find ways to support your clients during their session.
Your classes are worth it.