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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Would You Do: Zumba Edition

I love reading Bon's "what would you do?" posts.  She's a high school teacher (and a new mom to a beautiful little baby!) so I feel like I can relate to some of the dilemmas that she writes about.

Today I'm bringing you something similar -- except that it relates to my new Zumba class.

Here's the backstory:

I've been Zumba certified since April 2012 and have taught in a few different gyms.  I started in a really small location and had a solid following until I gave up the time slot after getting married and moving.  It was great - my classes were pretty well attended, and it seemed like people were happy with me.  

Somewhere in there I picked up a class at a larger gym, but the problem was that I was replacing a very well-loved, adorable instructor AND she taught during a not-so-favorable time slot.  People were so bummed about losing her that they didn't see any reason to do Zumba anymore, and the class kind of fizzled.  I still averaged 12ish people per class, but I ended up dropping the class after my wedding as well.

This past spring, I explored teaching at a super local little yoga studio, until I realized that the pay was terrible and the current Zumba instructor was only averaging 2 people per class.

So now we're up to speed.  Here's the sich:

I started subbing at the JCC in the beginning of the summer.  They have a handful of Zumba instructors, and there is one in particular that needed me to teach her class every so often.  But here's the problem.

She's not Zumba certified.  She calls her class "Zumba fitness" but it's nothing remotely like Zumba.  It's like cardio aerobics to pop music.  She's fantastic at what she does and gets 35-50 people in every class, which is awesome.  Her personality is unlike anything I've ever seen and she has the ability to energize a room as soon as she walks in.  She doesn't stand at the front instructing the class - rather she walks around getting in people's faces, screaming at them, and even sometimes dancing all up on them.

I was the best fit to sub her class because I'm the only one in the whole place who teaches an upbeat playlist.  People liked me when I subbed, but they really wanted her to be there, which I totally understand.  If you have someone you absolutely love, you want THEM to be your teacher.  I was totally okay with being the next best thing in that scenario. 

Fast forward to last week.  I got an e-mail saying that this instructor needed to give up one of her time slots so did I want it?  My answer was of course!  $25 for an hour-long workout?  SWEET!

So I went and taught last Thursday.  I picked my most upbeat and energetic playlist and it all went well.  After class, though, someone came up and said, "Hey Kate, I like you, but you need to take this up a notch.  We need more jumping and less hips.  You know, like [previous instructor]'s class."

I have a few inherent problems with this.
  1. I AM NOT THE FORMER INSTRUCTOR!  We have very different personalities, body types, and even skin colors!  I cannot be like her even if I tried.  Why would we run our classes the same way?
  2. Previous instructor is not Zumba certified.  I am.  Whose opinion is more legitimate on the definition of Zumba?
  3. Our calorie burns are nearly identical.  I've worn my Polar ft4 in her class and my own.  Both burn 750-900 calories.
  4. The instructor always works way harder than the participants and my current class is kicking my butt.  I cannot physically take it up any more notches.  Perhaps if the people who came to my class would work a little harder, then they'd feel different.  I notice that if the instructor does the movement at 100%, everyone else works at like 70-80%.  WORK AT 100% and then see what you think!
So what do I do?

(a) Say "screw it" to anyone who doesn't like my class and try build a totally new following.  Risk everyone talking about my refusal to make a class that people like and complaining to the fitness manager.

(b) Go against what I know about Zumba and tailor the class to what people like.  Learn all new choreography and teach cardio aerobics rather than Zumba.

(c) Something else...?

At the moment, I'm leaning toward option B.  This is job and I am getting paid to do this.  It's just a tough pill to swallow realizing that people want me to be something that I'm not, you know?  What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

We Were Made to Thrive

I've mentioned this a few times in the last couple of weeks, but my life has felt like a cycle of monotony lately.  I think it's part of the reason why I've been struggling to blog every day.  School is beyond stressful, and the bunch of students that I have this year are very, very needy.  It's to the point where I've done some research to see if there was some major vaccine or something that came out during the year they were born, since they are all unusually challenging.  (I found nothing, by the way)

Walker and I have said "yes" to a whole lot of activities this fall, which has been so, so great but has made our lives much more complicated.  We're out of the house 3-4 days during the week and then our weekends have been jam packed with various events.

So needless to say, I come home in the afternoons, put on my PJ's and just desperately want to veg.  My brain is buzzing in a zillion different directions and it's been really hard to get rest lately.  Between all of our usual stuff and the fact that I decided a few days ago to try to apply for grad school (when the deadline is this weekend), life has been a little nutty.

I came home on Thursday evening of last week and melted a little.  I almost wanted to call the youth pastor and back out of the weekend retreat.  With so much do, the last thing I wanted was to be responsible for a bunch of high school kids running loose around a church camp.  But as you know, I ended up going, and it was fantastic.

We sang a new song after arriving on Friday night, and it ended up kind of being the theme song for the weekend.

The chorus goes like this:

So living water flowing through
God we thirst for more of you
Fill our hearts and flood our souls
With one desire

Just to know you and to make you known
We lift your name on high
Shine like the sun make darkness run and hide

We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary life
It's time for us to more than just survive

Did you catch that last little bit?  We were made to thrive.  Not just live. Not just go through the motions.  Not just get through the next week...month...or year.  T-H-R-I-V-E.

I don't know what that looks like for you, but singing the song eleventy thousand times made me realize that I'm not really thriving right now.  I'm just trying to keep my head above water over here, praying for another day without a student thrashing around on the floor of my classroom having a meltdown.  

I'm not sure what exactly thriving looks like per se, but I know that I was made for so much more than this.  

It's time for us to more than just survive.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

μεταμορφόω (Metamorphosis)

On Friday afternoon, I raced out of school so that I could head home and pack for the weekend.  "Why are you in such a rush, Kate?" my grade level partner asked.  

Oh no reason -- I'm just taking 84 kids down to Maryland for the weekend and I need to soak up every moment of peace and quiet before I board that bus.

I have to say though, it was awesome.

My church does two major retreats for the students every year - one in the fall (which is smaller) and one in the spring (that involves 6-7 other churches from our denomination's regional district).  The fall retreat is a new-ish thing, so I never got to go as a student which means I was a little apprehensive about going along this past weekend.  I am a leader for the freshman girls, so I didn't really know them all that well, and I knew I would be getting very little sleep.  But putting all that aside, I have to say I enjoyed myself.

We ventured about an hour and a half south to Northbay Adventure Camp in Maryland.  The facilities were beautiful, and we had an entire building to ourselves.  The only downside was the half mile walk either down or up (depending on where you were going) a large hill.  My legs are still achy from all that hiking.  

Our theme was transformation (from the Greek word μεταμορφόω meaning Metamorphosis), and it was really cool to see God working in the lives of the high schoolers who attended.  On Saturday night, the leaders actually had the opportunity to anoint our students with oil and pray over them for God's will in their lives.  I have never seen to many people cry tears of joy at once.  So cool.

Coming home was a little rough, and this morning is probably going to be a struggle, but I am so glad I went and had the opportunity to participate in what God is doing in our youth group.  

Tell me about your youth retreat experiences!