If you have the money to spend on a hoop teacher certification program, you really should take it. There are countless benefits to the programs. However, if you're like me, you won't have $400 to spend on one. You will have the passion, the drive, and the motivation to practice and master skills. You will have the urge to teach and you won't know where to start.
Luckily, I have gained some knowledge and experience with the help of many different hoop instructors I have talked to on facebook. I especially would like to thank Jennifer Dennehy for her extra time helping me over the past couple of years. I now would like to share some of this knowledge with all of you! Before you start to look for places to teach, you will need to complete the first few steps.
1. Practice and Connect with Your Hoop
I would highly suggest putting it at least 1 year of CONSTANT practice. Before I started teaching, I put in about 2-3 years worth of normal practice time, packed within a year and a half. I practiced for hours every day on average for most of my first year and a half. I made sure I understood ALL beginner tricks inside and out, understood and could do intermediate tricks, and also mastered many advanced skills. I also made sure I experienced flow, so that I could talk about it with my students. Flow is difficult to recognize UNTIL you experience it. NEVER try to find it and NEVER try to force it. It will find you when you least expect it, and you will recognize it. If you want to teach hoop DANCE, you may need even longer to master the skills and incorporate dance. This depends on your dance background.
2. Practice Actual Teaching
I knew I would make a fool of myself if I just showed up and tried to start teaching before I knew how to teach. So, I volunteered my time with friends and some family members. I volunteered a few free group classes as well. I learned in this time how to teach and how to overcome the student's struggles. I learned how to describe moves and train the student's brain to put their words into body movement. If I had not practiced, I would not have known what to say at my actual class.
3. Plan Everything
You will need to do some work to get ready. Think about how your class might happen from now until they are established. You need a printer, printer ink, paper, cardstock for business cards and flyers, a calendar, a notebook, a calculator, a folder, and more.
You will need to ask around with other instructors that live and teach in areas similar to yours. This includes instructors of dance classes or yoga classes.
- Do you live in a low-income small town?
- Do you live in a big city?
Your location will help you set your price per class. My low-income city requires that I charge around $5-$7 per class. All other classes around here are about that price range. This includes Zumba, Yoga, and other fitness classes.
Be sure to plan out what you will teach.
- Will your class be fitness-based or will it be about tricks and transitions?
- What age group are you going to teach?
- Will you also offer private lessons?
- What days and times per week will you teach? (have a longer list of when you would want to teach, just in case your teaching space only has a few time slots available per week)
- Will you get insurance or will you have students sign a liability waiver?
- Will you offer special discounts (such as 10 classes for $50)?
4. Find A Space
- A photo of the dance studio where I teach
This is when you will start thinking about places in your area that might allow you to use their space. If you live in an area with nice weather most of the time, you may be able to skip this step and just invite your students to the park or a big, outdoor space for free. Many times, you will have to rent out a space or pay the space a percentage of your profits. I pay my current dance studio space 30% of profits to use the studio. I started with my local YWCA. If you look into a YMCA, they may require you to be certified in fitness or hooping, so be sure to ask. This step is where #1 comes in handy. If you put in enough time and you have enough skill, they will just be able to watch you demonstrate and see you're qualified. Some places you can check are community centers, dance studios, YWCAs, schools, churches, or parks & recreation places.
5. Be Prepared For All Scenarios
Be prepared for the best case scenario and the worst case scenario. You may only plan for the scenario in the middle of best and worst.
The best thing that could happen is that your classes have tons of students and everything is great. You will need to have much more materials than you originally expected. You will need more hoops, more business cards, more liability waivers, and more space to teach in.
The worst case scenario is that no one comes to your classes and you have no idea why. If you start off thinking your classes will be perfect, you may get severely discouraged and maybe even quit if no one attends. This is where I went wrong. I have come to realize that it isn't going to be easy and it will take a long time to build my classes to where I want them. I have spent dozens of class hours in the space by myself because no one showed up for class. I also have had 10 people in one class before. My city is a challenge for me and yours may be a challenge as well.
I have now been teaching classes for two and a half years. I have had many empty classes and many full classes. The ups and downs are certainly going to happen, but as long as you don't quit, you're going to be happy you stuck with it.
Just be prepared for everything and you will get through.