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Aerial Teaching Vs Training: How to Find Balance and Save Your Sanity


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As aerial studios and training spaces reopen and race to make up for lost time and income and eager students return to class (masked up and vaxed up we hope!), you may find yourself teaching aerial more then ever before!

In fact, you might be starting to ask yourself this question…

“I’m teaching so many aerial classes that I don’t feel like I have the time or energy to train for myself, what should I do?” 

First of all: THANK YOU for being such a generous and inspiring aerial instructor, if you are teaching a lot of classes with plenty of returning students you are definitely doing something right and helping your studio and the aerial community to recover!

Secondly: Life is all about balance and the same is true for your aerial life. If you are teaching so much that it’s hard to remember your own name sometimes and the thought of even touching a silk in your own time makes your forearms cramp then you may need to cut back.

Before you do though be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the BENEFITS (pros) I experience from teaching this many classes a week?
  2. What are the costs (cons) associated with my current schedule? (e.g lack of time/motivation to train)
  3. If I cut back on teaching how will I make up for the loss of income?

Here at Womack and Bowman we struggled with the teaching/training balance for many years, particularly when we first opened our studio and were teaching multiple classes per week (and not paying ourselves) in order to build our business.

Over the years, we realized that although we loved teaching IRL we needed to prioritize our aerial lives and focus on our performing careers, workshops and online offerings rather then regular weekly classes.

This has freed up our schedule and allowed us to train regularly, create new acts and offers and spend time exploring and being creative as aerialists.

Lets take a look at some of the ways that you can find more balance in your aerial teaching/training schedule:

  1. Ask your studio owner/manager for a raise.

Earning more money from teaching one class may allow you the financial freedom you need to teach less, therefore freeing up more time to spend on your own training. It might feel intimidating to ask for a pay raise but if your classes are popular and you have a good relationship with your studio owner/manager it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. If the studio is unable to offer you a standard pay increase (especially if they are still building back up after a difficult year) you could propose a small pay increase per student over a certain amount (e.g $5 for each student after 6, capping out at  9 = $20 raise per class). Most studios will be willing to negotiate with you if you can prove you have a consistent draw and are willing to be flexible.

    2. Don’t be afraid to invest in YOU

The loss of income you may experience by teaching less can be considered an investment of your time IF you spend that time wisely on your own training, working on your website/marketing materials or pitches. If you are looking to focus on aerial performing you need to spend time creating acts and getting yourself ‘seen’ by circus and event companies. If you would like to travel and teach aerial workshops as a highly paid instructor you need to spend time creating a beautiful promotional package that you can send out to studios. Whatever your goal is you need to prioritize your TIME in order to make it happen.

   3. Make a schedule and stick to it

You may not able to cut back on your aerial teaching right now. You may be building your studio or you really don’t want to leave your students or you simply can’t afford too. In this case, it is still possible to balance your teaching/training schedule, it just takes a little extra planning and motivation.

At the beginning of each week, take out your calendar and SCHEDULE your aerial training time. Some weeks may be less than others but thats OK, find the time and then SHOW UP. Tired or not, inspired or not just SHOW UP. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish just by getting to class, open workout or your rig even if you feel less than your best.

Keep up the great work and thank you to each and every aerial instructor for sharing your knowledge and passion and helping our wonderful, world-wide aerial community bounce back and THRIVE!

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