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Help I need a Sub! | Etiquette for Finding Coverage for Your Classes

Originally Published Dec 18, 2018

Anyone who is a yoga teacher usually gets a large portion of their early work as a substitute for more senior teachers. And, as you continue to teach and build a schedule, you will require coverage for your regular classes from time to time. A lot of the work acquiring subs usually resides with the teacher, and the process is often tedious and time consuming. However, there is some good common sense etiquette to follow that might make the flow of things a bit easier for all. Below is my two cents on the matter: some things that I see becoming too common and and how we might do a little bit better.

Humble Bragging

“I’m teaching yoga to 10,000 people in at the Chai latte American Freedom Yoga Festival. I need you to cover my amazing classes while I am gone. They are a great group who spread rose petals on the ground and shower me with praise after our transformational end-of-class-oms.”

What prevents you from teaching your classes is of little or no importance to the person who might potentially cover it. One could care less if you’re binge watching Friends before it leaves Netflix, or teaching in faraway exotic places — because it has nothing to do with their schedule and ability to fill in for you. Maybe rethink your wordage so it is less about you and more about the class and the potential sub.

That being said, maybe it’s time to re-think using how great the group is as your selling point. I have definitely been guilty of this, because honestly, it’s nice to be enthusiastic about who you teach. But it doesn’t give us any information about the class, and honestly we don’t know who is going to show up when we are not there.

What if we shared some helpful information about the level and style of the class? Because, frankly in this day and age, general styles like Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga can mean many different things to different people. It might be nice to clue your potential subs in on what to expect when they step in the room for you.

Standby Subs

“I’m I might have a 3rd call-back for America’s Next Top Yoga Teacher. Can any one standby to sub my gorgeous group of early am yogis at 6:15am. I will let you know by 4am—at the latest!”

I’ll admit this is a bit of a grey area, and I think that there are times when a friend or co-worker can help you out in uncertain times. But lately there is a trend of getting stand-by subs for so many reasons. I get that life has its ups and downs, and the weather continues to surprise and suck. Money in this business is also hard to come by. But consider before you send out that standby request that no one wants to maybe work. Someone subbing your class is already doing you a huge favor. So if there is a chance you won’t be there, save everyone the suspense and just get it covered.

Too. Many. Emails.

We’ve all been there: No one on earth can sub your class. While there is an abundance of yoga teachers, there are times when the timing is just off. After the 2nd or 3rd attempt, contact management and ask them to help you. Also, start calling and texting. Emails are too easy to ignore and sometimes NO MATTER HOW MANY CAPS WE USE the sense of urgency gets lost in cyberspace.

Sub needs a Sub

“Help, I’m in Helsinki and my sub tore something in Contortion Class. Can you re-sub my 6pm class?”

Ouch! As much as our injured friend needs to rest, they’ll also need to try to get that class covered for you. Of course, let the original teacher and studio know right away and I am sure they will help as much as they can. But if you agree to sub a class, it’s your class, and therefore your responsibility.

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