Starting in April and up until last week, my daily schedule was:
- 5:15 a.m.-6 a.m.: Get up and practice aerobics choreography
- 6-6:30: Get ready for work
- 6:30-7:30: Get kids up, feed breakfast, pack lunches, head to morning care
- 7:45-5:15 p.m.: Commuting/work
- 5:15-6:45: Dinner/homework help/chores
- 7-8: Mon & Wed aerobics / Tues & Thurs Dash's Tae kwon do
- (Weekends: 8-9 a.m. Sat & Sun, Jazzercise)
When I went to aerobics classes throughout April, the instructors would announce each class that I was a trainee and let me come on stage with them, so I was getting a lot of experience co-leading classes all month. However, through March and April, the center owner took me aside to chat a few times to discuss what a commitment that aerobics was, and how flexible my schedule was, and, really, no red flags went up at first.
It wasn't until mid-April that I started to hear rumblings from the two new instructors that were certified in March. The center just added two new classes per week, and the new instructors had assumed that they were going to be assigned to them; however, the classes were assigned to current instructors with more seniority. The new instructors would only be able to substitute for classes that the current instructors gave up to them, or they would need to travel to classes at other centers. Also, one of the instructors (with two classes per week) who said she was moving away decided to stay. On top of all this, the center owner —who had only been teaching personal training classes—started teaching aerobics classes on the main schedule again. I began to feel concerned and squeezed out. Teaching opportunities seemed much scarcer than they had when I signed on.
The math is what helped clinch my decision to put off the certification:
- When I started, there were 6 instructors and 13 classes, which is a ratio of about >2 classes per instructor. It gets messy when you get down to some instructors have 2 or 3 classes each and others have 1-1/2 (sharing with another teacher), but that's essentially it.
- What I *thought* was happening was that the one instructor was leaving, two new instructors were coming on and the center was adding two new classes. So 7 instructors, 15 classes, with essentially the same ratio, >2.
- What actually happened was this: there are now 9 instructors and 15 classes, with a ratio of 1-1/3 classes per instructor. 2 instructors have 3 classes each, leaving 9 classes for 7 instructors. 3 of those 7 instructors have 2 classes each, leaving 3 classes for the remaining 4. Two of those instructors each have a class and share one class, leaving the 2 new instructors with substitution options only.
I'm not THAT flexible. And there's a new requirement that instructors _must_ teach 4 classes per month.
I was planning to teach or substitute at my center during the week, or teach or travel as a substitute on the weekends. I just learned that the weekend substitution jobs are prime and get snapped up immediately, so it would be very unlikely that I could rely on weekend-only work. And I just can't travel during the week or I'd be having marriage issues. So, I'm putting aerobics instructor training on hold. Maybe in a year or two the teacher-to-class ratio will change? People are always relocating for jobs or love, or Bob-forbid, get injured. I did all the work and I feel great, super-fit. I know I CAN do it, and that counts for me.
For now, I keep taking classes — which I LOVE!!! — and will keep my ears pricked to changes in the schedule.