How NOT To Treat Your Pole Instructor

I know the pole community is a lil’ bubble of love and glitter and unicorn farts, but we REALLY GOTTA TALK! This is for all you pole-curious, newbies and long-term students… How NOT to treat your pole instructor / studio owner.

As pole instructors we are all too aware of the following issues. It can pretty damn difficult for instructors to say these directly to potential students, or even long-time attendees; they may be worried about losing business, or making someone upset or angry. So, here I am, giving the guide on how NOT to treat your pole instructor.

DO NOT impatiently message them over social media or email

So, you’ve seen a Facebook update from your local studio advertising new classes, or a different class that you would be interested in trying. Of course, you message the page to ask some questions about it or to book yourself on.

BUT… here’s what NOT to do:

  • Do NOT expect them to reply back straight away, they may be teaching classes or, you know, having a life. Although they are often self-employed, that doesn’t mean they can answer you immediately or whenever you think they should.
  • Do NOT expect them to reply to you ‘out of hours’. Pole studios are small businesses. We do not offer 24/7 customer service like Apple or Amazon. We are humans, often with families, other jobs, and other commitments. If you messages us at 8pm at night, do NOT expect an answer the same day.
  • If you do message and do not get a response, do NOT then send yet more messages, escalating to yet more and more passive aggressiveness. The number of question marks you  use isn’t going to make us reply any faster. See bullets 1 and 2 to see why.
  • All of these points also apply to email. A reasonable time to expect a reply is within 48 hours, after which you can send a POLITE nudge to make sure they saw it.

DO NOT message their personal number and social media profiles

As I said above, pole studios are small businesses, and as such, communication should mostly be kept to their business contacts, unless you have a prior agreement.

Of course, the relationship between student and instructor can slowly develop into a friendship over time, so it is easy to not even think about texting their phone at 11pm to ask about class times the next day (I’ve been just as guilty of this!!!). But, instructors need down time just as with any other career, and they also need a separation between professional and personal life.

Messaging their personal Facebook page or phone number without a prior agreement is kinda rude guys. It shows that you don’t respect their boundaries and that your need for a swift reply is more important than their personal space. Unless they have specifically told you that they do not mind you messaging them via personal contacts, then just assume they don’t want you to, and either ask whether you can, or just message them via their business contact points.

DO NOT argue with them over coaching and technique points

I haven’t had this happen really, but I have heard about it from other instructors. Students, don’t argue with your instructor over coaching points or techniques!

If your instructor is telling you to do something, then they are telling you for a reason. Asking them ‘why are we doing that?’ because you are genuinely curious about the mechanics of a move is completely fine, but saying ‘Errr, why are we doing that?’ in your best impression of Cher from Clueless is not OK. If they are asking you to go up on your toes, they are doing so for a reason. If they are asking you to tilt your head back, they are doing so for a reason.

The only time this doesn’t apply, is if the technique is just downright dangerous, in which case you are within your right to sit out of the session. For example, if you are not comfortable with kicking hard into an invert but your instructor is insisting you are ready.

DO NOT haggle over the prices

The prices are the prices! We have mouths to feed, studios to pay for, and instructors to reimburse. Do not ask us ‘why do you cost so much?’ or ‘can I have a discount?’ It is RUDE, and totally devalues the services we are offering you. If you wish to do a cheap fitness pursuit then try a local running club or a Zumba class, these don’t require the same years of training, start up costs and equipment expenses as pole, so please don’t expect to pay the same amount!

Some people think teaching pole is somehow a license to print money, that we are rolling in it. But honestly, a lot of pole instructors, and especially studio owners, are struggling to get by just so they can keep their classes affordable for you guys!

DO NOT miss classes / turn up late without notice, and expect us to foot the bill

If you miss a class because you’ve hurt your leg, or you are going on holiday, or some other reason, yes it can feel ‘unfair’ for you to still have to pay for the class that you have missed. Many studio owners are generous enough to allow you to catch up in a drop in session or to give you a partial discount on your next booking if you let them know before hand. But, if you miss a class without notice and expect a refund then you need to understand that the space you left was not filled in your absence; often classes are part of a course booking, so if you want a refund of a space, there’s no way for the instructor to make up that money.

Often studios are running at very low margins, so losing a space within a class could be the difference between paying themselves and not. They aren’t being greedy, they want to keep the studio open so they can continue teaching you. If they can no longer afford to because they have to keep refunding people who do not come to their bookings, then you will have nowhere to train at all!


Any students or instructors out there with ‘DO NOT’s of their own to pass on? Leave them in the comments below!

Comments 8

  1. Personally, I dislike when students show me a random pic or video of something I’ve never seen before (or worse, give me a vague verbal description) and expect me to figure it out and break it down for them on the spot. Sometimes its something simple that I can show them…but often its a complex move (which they often aren’t ready for anyways). I simply refuse to attempt anything on the fly in order to discourage the behaviour. They are, however, always welcome to message me pics/vids for me to take a look at before class.

  2. I wish more people understood the part about not showing up. I have a small studio where I do private lessons and I really hate it when someone books and either does not show up at all or cancels last minute. I have actually had one woman who was mad at me because I would not book her again after she canceled one appointment and didn’t show up for the next one.

    1. Post

      Yes, those are slots where someone else could have booked! If they give you enough notice to find a replacement then it’s no problem, you haven’t lost the money, but if they don’t show up that’s an hour of time that could have otherwise been filled with another booking.

  3. As an instructor, I don’t like when students who have only just begun start teaching other students in the class and telling them how to do it wrong.
    Or when I specifically tell them not to do something and they do it anyway.
    I’m not saying no to be mean, I’m saying it because want you to live

    1. Post

      I often let them know about insurance if they begin to cross teach / instruct other students. Or do a gentle reminder at the beginning of class. That’s a very common issue that lots of instructors have!

    1. Post

      Hi Melanie,
      Personally most of my students don’t do these, and when they do I politely remind them of the studio etiquette.
      A lot of studio owners and instructors have explained that these issues happen in their studios, so having a public forum, it is a good idea for me to use it to make the pole world a better place
      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment xxxx

  4. I feel like a lot of these are communication and/or bad manners issues. For example, it would be good to have a clear Contact Us page on the studio website with the contact info and the times when the customers / prospective customers can expect a reply, and do the same in the FB page. When it comes to missing classes or having class packages expire, it’s a really common problem. Again, communicate, communicate, communicate. One of the studios I go to have the deadline for canceling class attendance on their site, in MindBody when signing up and in the reservation confirmation email. People can’t say that they didn’t know. And then, at the end: This is a customer service business, with the challenges that come with it. Which does not excuse bad behavior at all, but rather no-one can ever please everyone.

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