Monday, February 25, 2013

Cookies and Complaints - Scenes From My Day

Today was my appointment with the genius Dr. Lynch. To reward him for his genius I decided to bake him some delicious cookies. I got all the stuff together and then said to myself "Are you really going to make Dr. Lynch gluten free cookies? I mean, they're ok and all - but does Dr. Lynch deserve 'ok'? After saving my life? NO! Dr. Lynch deserves moist, chewy gluten!"

So I purchased some regular flour and began baking. But as I was mixing together the ingredients, I suddenly began to panic. What was I thinking with all this butter?! Sure, butter is delicious, but so much fat! Obviously, I want Dr. Lynch to outlive me, so it's important to keep him healthy, not load him up with sugar and fat.

And so I reduced the amount of sugar I used and replaced some of the butter with olive oil.

But when the cookies were done, I panicked yet again. What would these healthier cookies taste like? Would they be disgusting? I couldn't serve The Beautiful Healer Dr. Lynch substandard tasting cookies! It would be like spitting in his face! For all I knew, he would refuse to treat me anymore, saying "The poor quality of these cookies shows me that you do not appreciate my gifts, nor do you take your health seriously. Get out of my sight. I hope your lungs explode. In fact, I'm writing you a prescription for GNCs."

Well, what could I do? There was no one home except me and Molly. So I did what I had to do.

I ate a gluten cookie.

Well, they tasted ok, but I didn't feel fantastic, afterward, obviously. I told myself that it was worth it - that there was no other way, and that I did what I had to do. Sure, my body hates me, but it is what it is.

It was in this frame of mind that I received a telephone call from the manager of a gym where I sub.

I have subbed a yoga class for the past two weeks, and have one more week to go. A little background. The first day I came in, every person asked me where the regular teacher was, and they all expressed their concern for her well being and wanted me to give them all the details as to why she wasn't there. I tried to explain that I don't know the woman personally and I don't know why she needs a sub. I know she's not dead. That is all. Their questions became more and more frantic and pressing - they are all clearly in love with their regular instructor, which is sweet, but I knew right away that they were not going to give me a chance.

But whatever, I tell myself. I don't have to make them love me - I'm just a temporary sub. I have to provide them with a good, high-quality yoga class and that's it - I don't need or want them to get attached to me.

So I taught my classes as usual and thought they went ok. No major issues, nothing crazy.

Today, however, I got a call from the manager. Apparently, a student complained that my classes are not hard enough, and that I need to make my classes harder like the regular teacher does. In addition, she complained that I didn't demonstrate enough, and that I "checked my ipad during class".

I was shocked and upset. Let me address these complaints here, just so we're clear.

1) My classes need to be harder, like the regular teacher's.

I'm not the regular teacher. My style is going to be different from hers. Also, I'm not a "hard" teacher. My goal is not to kick your ass - if you want your ass kicked go to a boot camp or weight training class. Yoga, for me, is not about that - it's not the way I practice and it's not the way I like to teach.

That being said, I'm happy to make my classes a bit harder to accommodate you - you just have to let me know beforehand. Every single time I sub a class, (this class included) the first thing I do is ask for requests. If the complainer wanted a difficult class, she should have spoken up when I asked, rather than go behind my back and complain to the manager later. Boooooo!

2) I don't demonstrate enough.

Yoga instructors aren't supposed to demonstrate everything. This isn't zumba or Turbo Kickboxing where the instructor does the whole class. I ALWAYS demonstrate poses that are difficult to understand verbally, and of course I demonstrate sun salutes and anything that has a lot of parts to it. But I don't demonstrate every single move - I'm not an instructor who just does her own yoga practice on her mat and expects the students to copy her. I watch the students to make sure they're doing things correctly, so I can give adjustments if needed. It's how I was trained to teach, and I haven't had any complaints about it until now.

3) I looked at my ipad while teaching.


OK - I MAY have taken a peek during savasana, but only for brief moment. I do this sometimes. I check the time, I look at my playlists for inspiration in case I want to change my savasana song - or MAYBE I check my email. I NEVER do this while I'm doing actual teaching - ONLY when everyone is lying down with their eyes closed. Apparently one of my students caught me checking my ipad and thought that was completely unacceptable.

OK. That would have been unacceptable if I was doing it in the middle of teaching, but during savasana I'm not teaching - the students are just laying there with their eyes closed. In this type of setting, where I don't know the students, I don't do adjustments, so I'm just sitting there too, as they lay there - staring at them.

The ipad also would have been unacceptable in a restorative type setting where the room is dark and the electric light would have been distracting. But this was a gym - bright and noisy and full of lights. My ipad would have been completely unnoticeable.

Also, I never have sound on my ipad, so it's not like the sound was distracting anyone.

And it was so, so brief!

So, I won't ever check my ipad again during savasana - I learned my lesson. I had no idea it would piss anyone off -it certainly doesn't bother me when I take yoga classes and the instructor checks her iphone. But then again, I'm not a crazy person who complains for no reason.

But I don't know what I can do about the rest. I teach my classes the way I like to be taught - I'm willing to take into account the desires of my students of course, but if they don't verbalize those desires to me beforehand, I don't know what I can do. If they don't tell me "I want a hard class" or something similar, I don't see how I can know that.

I guess I just have to detach from this situation. I'll do my best to please them next week, but I won't lie - I'm not expecting that I'll be able to do so. I think they just want their old instructor back, and that's all there is to it.

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