But, I'm going to play a quick little game of catch-up as I've knocked a few things off the list.
Most of you know that in addition to my full-time job, I teach Jazzercise classes on the side. I commonly refer to this as my "fun hobby." A lot of people think that I am nuts to have not only a second job, but one that is in the fitness industry, but I love it. And, it tends to be what gets me through crazy weeks at my full-time job. And, it ensures that I spend at least three hours a week on myself, committed to fitness.
One of my favorite things about the Jazzercise organization is their commitment to quality. After going through a rigorous training period and audition, there is a three day workshop to prepare us for the journey we are about to embark upon. After teaching for our first three months, we have our first evaluation to check up on our progress. Then, these evaluations continue on an annual basis. Evaluations, teamed with district meetings, weekly communications from our District Manager, five DVDs of routines and Fit Bits throughout the year, and many other activities are integrated into our career as an instructor. These things aren't meant to just keep us busy, but instead to make sure that we are representing the Jazzercise name with quality and excellence.
All of that to say: This job is a lot more than teaching three one-hour classes each week. And all of this I do on top of working a 50-hour-a-week job. But I wouldn't trade it for anything.
When putting together my "30 Before 30" list, I decided that because Jazzercise is such a big part of my life, there had to be an entry related to it. And, since I'm always looking for ways to improve myself in various areas of my life, that's what made the most sense. So, I committed to try to beat my evaluation score from last year.
Instructors are evaluated on 5 Key Categories and 20 Essential Skill Elements*:
Cueing, Physiology, PEC, Safety Tips
Correct Movements, Correct Choreography, Dance Subtleties, Musicality
High Impact, High Intensity, Use of Stage, Endurance
Presentation & Performance
Motivating, Engaging, Vocal Variety, Sound Quality
Feel & Flow, Set Structure Guidelines, Aerobic Section, Strength Training
An instructor is rated "Outstanding," "Meets Standards," or "Does Not Meet Standards" in each of these 20 areas above.
Well, without going into a lot of detail (I strongly believe that the details of evaluations, like performance reviews at work, should be limited to the evaluator and the one being evaluated and not made public knowledge), I tied my evaluation from the year before. In some areas I did better than last year, in some areas I was marked a little lower, and in most areas I was scored just the same.
At first, I was really bummed about this. The day of my evaluation (which are a surprise, not prescheduled) fell right in the middle of a really rough week at work, on a particularly bad day. In fact, when I pulled into the parking lot at the center, I actually thought, "Knowing my luck, today will be the day I get evaluated." And 5 minutes later the Quality Coordinator walked in the door. And, try as I might, the frustration of the week at work was a little more than I could simply push aside and it was far from my best class. And I drove home after class and just went to bed. I was done with that day at 9pm.
But, this is the beautiful thing about evaluations. They are designed to make us better, not simply to prove that we are either a great or a terrible instructor. So, since my evaluation, I've been able to do the following:
- Have confidence in the areas that I really succeed as an instructor. Quality Coordinators make a point to not only let instructors know areas they need to work on, but celebrate the areas where they succeed.
- Be aware of areas where I can grow. I am a firm believer that no one can ever be perfect at anything. There is always room for growth. And sometimes, we need others to help us become aware of those areas that work is needed.
- Realize that I have to have balance between my Jazzer-life and the rest of my life. Being an instructor is a huge responsibility, but it is supposed to be fun. And, if I take myself too seriously as an instructor, I lose my ability to really connect with my students. I shouldn't feel guilty that, because of my 50-hour-a-week workweek and the rest of my life, I can't work on routines and technique around the clock. But, as long as I am teaching classes by the book and my students are having fun, seeing results, and feeling better when they leave than when they walked in, that's all I can do. And, the fact that I work full-time helps me relate to my students because they are often coming straight from a long day at work just like I am.
All in all, I call this one a win.
*Taken directly from the Franchise Zone of Jazzercise.com