th-14As a long time educator, I’ve learned some lessons that have been very valuable to me as I added ‘Cycling Instructor’ to my resume.  One of the things that I’ve learned over my years in education is how much my students and parents appreciate being connected to what’s going on in the classroom.  In addition, my students are made to feel like they are a part of a family.  Getting to know each and every one of them on a personal level is a goal I have in my classroom each school year.   It builds camaraderie and it lets them know that I care.  In return, I’m greeted with happy parents and almost 20 beautiful smiling faces every day.

This concept can be translated into your indoor cycling class in several ways.  Connecting with your students can be as simple as sending out weekly emails.  Or if you’re really ambitious, you can connect by blogging or through your own personal website. Your options are limitless!

How many times has a student come to you after class and asked you ,  “Now, which days/times do you teach”? Even though it’s surely posted on every wall in the facility.  How often do you hear, “Wow, I loved that one song, what was it”?  Or “I wish I had known class was cancelled-you added a class-you were subbing for so and so.”

Your students want to know what’s going on, and the easier you make it for them to get that information, the more they are going to appreciate it.  In return, you WILL see your class size grow.

If you have a computer and five minutes a week, you’ll be off to a positive start. Here are a few simple ways that you can connect with your students:

Weekly Emails:

  • Bring a sign up sheet on a clipboard with you to class and ask your students for their email address if they would like to receive updates and important information regarding your class.(Of course let them know that you would never share their information with anyone first.) As new members join and become consistent in your program, they will appreciate the connection, so keep that clipboard in your gym bag at all times.  Every so often, make an announcement to see if anyone would be interested in receiving emails.  If a member comes to you with a question about your classes or teaching schedule, suggest that they join your email list.
  • Send out a mass email once a week.  In the email give your students information about any closings or cancellations or special classes that you might be teaching that week.  Your students will also appreciate the heads up when you’ll be subbing for another instructor or if another instructor will be filling in for you.
  • If it’s a slow news week in your cycling world, add in a link to a good article about indoor cycling or a funny clip or picture.
  • If you have your weekly playlists on iTunes or Spotify, add a link so your students can have a listen.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but I promise you-your students will appreciate you for it!

Connecting Through Facebook:

Facebook Groups

  • You can easily create a group through Facebook where members can post, share and ask questions about your indoor cycling program. 
  • Creating a Facebook ‘Group’ is really pretty simple.  If you have a Facebook account,  click on ‘Groups’ under the ‘Applications’ menu on the left side of your home page. Enter your group information and invite members from a list of your Facebook friends.
  • You have the option of  keeping your group private or open to the public.  Facebook members that are not already your ‘friends’ can search your group and request to be added to it.
  • You can customize who can post on your group page, but it’s fun to keep it open for all group members to post.
  • You can add photos and links to your Facebook groups.  This is a good place to post your cycling playlists for your students to view.

Facebook Pages

  • A Facebook ‘Page’ differs from a Facebook ‘Group’ in that it allows only the page administrator (you) to post.   It is open to the public and anyone that ‘Likes’ your page can see your updates on their newsfeed.  It is not as interactive as a ‘Group’, but still a great way to get information to your students.  Page administrators (you) can also track your page’s activity.
  • To create a Facebook ‘Page’:  Go to this link which will take you to the Facebook page wizard. It will lead you through the steps and you will have your very own page in no time!  You can view my Facebook page here.

If you’re feeling ambitious, here are a few other ideas for staying connected:

  • Of course you could always create your own blog or website.  I originally created my blog, Chrispins, with my students in mind. And while they still check it out, it has really blossomed into place where I communicate with other instructors around the globe.
  • If you’ve never checked out FitGuru, it is a good (free!) tool for communication with your students as well.  It takes a little bit of time to set up, but once you have it rolling, it is quick and easy to maintain your site.  It allows you to easily email all of your members with the click of a button and you can post your teaching schedule there along with important news.

If you are not already connecting with your students in some way, give one of these ideas a try and see the difference it can make in your classes.

How do you communicate with your students? Are you already using some of these methods or do you use a method that I did not mention?

Originally posted 2013-01-22 05:44:28.

Christine Hawthorne
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