Make it Work: The Fire Alarm Test

On Wednesday, I arrived at the gym to see a sign on the front door announcing that they would be conducting fire alarm testing that day. I believe it was from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. I figured I’d be in the clear, with my classes taking place from 6 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. I figured wrong.

There’s one thing about being a fitness instructor that you have to learn and accept very early on: things don’t always work out in your favor. And when it goes south (or gets loud – and not in a good way), you have two options: either you can freak out, or you can make it work.

We were about 15 minutes in to my 7:15 Pilates class when the screeching, blinking alarm started. That thing teased me a couple times, too (maybe payback for all of the times I’ve tortured my Spinning classes with the songs that go on a lot longer than you’d expect?) – at least twice it stopped, I breathed my sigh of relief, thanked God, and … it started up again. And we’re not talking it lasted maybe a minute or so – it was a solid 10-15.

But I did what any experienced instructor would do in the situation. I kept going. Yes, I was yelling. Yes, after a few minutes, when I realized it may not stop any time soon, I dug out the microphone in the hopes that, 1. It would be loud enough to be heard over the screeching alarm, 2. I wouldn’t need it for long, and 3. That I wouldn’t strangle myself with the cord (there is definitely a reason I don’t wear a mic for this particular class. Fear of strangulation). But I tried to crack jokes. I tried to keep things going as if we weren’t slowly developing damaged ear drums and starting to see spots.  I continued to project as best I could, anticipating a sore and potentially hoarse throat in my future.

Much to my surprise (and delight), all 13 of them, even my two newbies, stuck with me through it. We survived. No casualties. Guess there is definitely something to be said for making it work!

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10 thoughts on “Make it Work: The Fire Alarm Test

  1. This was a fantastic entry. Great perserverance! I am a Spanish teacher who is also training to become a Combat fitness instructor. I have seen my lessons go south many times in the last four years of teaching, so I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to push through like you did in your post. I’ve also witnessed classes (as a participant) where the microphone broke (on a launch day, no less!) and the instructors had to power through. I felt like it was a more inspiring class just to see their stamina!

    Thanks for writing this entry. I would love if you could read my thoughts and let me know what you think:
    http://aflippedswitch.com

    • Absolutely – it comes in time, and truly, a good instructor won’t let the unexpected get in the way of a good class. When I first started teaching Spinning, the mic in the cycle studio was broken for weeks, so I definitely got the “scream if you want to be heard” experience very early on. Good luck with your training!

    • I’m with you! It’s a lesson you learn quickly. I spent my first several weeks as a spinning instructor mic-less (about 3 years ago already!), and let me tell you, you learn what hand signals do and don’t work pretty quickly!

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