I usually arrive 10 to 15 minutes early for my 6pm Monday night Spin class.
I show up early in case I have a student that has never taken this type of class. I make sure to review bike setup and proper positioning. I let them know that my class is an advanced class and that it's OK if they can't keep up. I tell them that they shouldn't push themselves and that proper form is most important and to just pedal at their own pace when they find it's too much for them to handle. I am friendly. I am encouraging. I am nice.
I begin promptly at 6. I end promptly at 7. I firmly believe in the prompt beginning and ending of class because many of my students have to fly home to care for children, make dinner, grade papers, etc. The other reason for my "promptness" is that I only get paid for 1 hour. That's it. No more, no less. I'm already showing up for 10-15 minutes at the beginning of class that I don't get paid for. I sometimes stay past 7 socializing with my students, or answering questions. I am perfectly fine with that.
I had a student pull something on Monday night that I was NOT perfectly fine with.
When class begins, I start off with a 5 minute warm-up. This includes stretching and working all positions on the bike to get everyone moving and well, warmed up. By 6:10 we are all done with warming up, and we are full force into the meat & potatoes of the class.
Monday night, at 6:15 pm during a Beyonce remix, a woman waltzes (and I'm not exaggerating when I say waltz) into the room while I'm leading the class through jumping drills. I do not wear a microphone, so I am literally mid-yell. "5-6-7-UP! 5-6-7-SIT!"
So this woman walks in, towel in one hand - drink in the other, and says, "Where do I go? This is my first time."
I am mid-instruction with 12 pairs of eyes staring at me, their movements waiting on my command. I look away away from the 12 pairs of eyes to this woman standing next to me and tell her, "pick a bike." An easy task since there are only two left in the class. She walks over to a bike directly to my left, and I resume my yelling.
She then points to the bike and says, "this one?" I shrug my shoulders, shoot her an annoyed look and say, "Sure."
I ONCE AGAIN resume teaching the class to students that showed up on time. As I'm teaching, I begin an internal dialogue with myself. I'm wondering what she means by "first time." First time in my class, or first time EVER? I wonder if I should stop teaching and go over to her to see if she needs help. I wonder if I should ask her if she has ever taken a spin class before. I wonder if I should keep an eye on her in order to make sure she isn't doing anything incorrectly for fear she might injure herself.
I then remember that I show up early SPECIFICALLY to ask these type of questions and to cater to these type of students. I myself would not show up 15 minutes into a yoga or a pilates class- two classes that I KNOW nothing about - and expect the instructor to pay any attention to me. If it were MY first time, I would show up early to ask questions.
So now I'm mad. Really mad. I decide to ignore her. I decided that she was disrespectful enough to show up late and disrupt class so I was allowed to be disrespectful right back.
But wait - it gets better.
At the end of class, while everyone is walking out the door and telling me, "great class see you next week," Little Miss Disruptor comes up to me and says, "Can you show me how to use the machine, I've never done this before."
I wanted to slap her. First off, it's not a machine, it's a bike. Second, she was expecting me to show her NOW, but her tone suggested that she had expected me to help her when she walked in. She didn't even apologize for walking in late. So I smiled, and spatted out my best fake "SUUUURRREE." As I was explaining how everything worked, I also let her know that I show up early to class to go over these sorts of things, and that the best time for her to come NEXT week would be 10 to 15 minutes early. I figured she'd get my hint that not only did she show up late, but she was now rudely taking up my time after the class had ended.
I then move on to answer a question from one of my regulars who patiently waited while I showed this be-otch how to set up her bike. As I'm speaking to my regular student, Little Miss Disruptor interrupts to ask, "SOOOOO what is this like good for? Like, what does it work?"
Seriously? F-ing Seriously???????
I stop mid-sentence turn to her and state, "I'll be with you in a minute." And she waits, and stares at me, and waits some more......I'm finally done with my regular student and turn to answer her question. This woman kept me there until 7:20 pm with questions like, "Does it work your legs? Does it work your abs? Will I lose weight? How many calories do you burn? When are the other classes? What are they like? How about your upper body?"
How is it that some people have ZERO clue that they are rude and sucky???
Did I handle this situation correctly by catering to my other 12 students instead of stopping to cater to her?