Behind that rather forced smile is one of the most amazing women I know. She’s not very comfortable with pictures but she actually let me take two yesterday, after we had lunch together.

For those of you who attend my classes, you have heard me speak about Shawna. She currently teaches Physical Education at the college level however she used to train the teachers coming out of the YMCA, Group Fitness Instructor Program.

I was one of those “want to be teachers,” 17 years ago.  When I successfully graduated, she gave me my first paying job, subbing for her while she went on summer vacation. Finding that first gig can be hard when you become a new teacher, however Shawna is incredibly supportive to everyone who is lucky to call her “teacher, boss or friend.”

Shawna shares everything she knows and all materials that she has developed and acquired over the years in order to help all teachers be the best that they can be.  Not many teachers/bosses are like this.  I have tried as hard as I can to do this in my own work, as I see how important it is for us to be supportive of each other in this industry.

I had the pleasure of attending Shawna’s fitness class just before we had lunch yesterday and I felt so happy to be back in her class, even though I ended up being her partner in muscle conditioning! I had to be front and centre with the boss…suddenly having to pull my own weight, on my first day of vacation, when really I just wanted to dance and goof off in the background. Interesting and challenging exercises were on the menu. It was tough and fun!

We all have those people in our lives who have helped us to become the person we are today. Shawna was a tough teacher. Once I had passed the course, I can remember never wanting her to attend my classes in case I let her down in some way! I am past this now…I think!

She taught us that as teachers, we don’t bring our personal life into the class. We put on a smile no matter what may be going on with us outside of work, as we are being paid to serve and support our clients. She taught us to arrive at least 10 minutes before our classes, so that we can get ourselves ready and then have time to chat and get to know our clients. When I first started teaching an evening class for her, I took the time to memorize all 50 of my students names!  They were so impressed.  I do my best with names now but I have to admit that with so many classes and students it can be a bit of a problem. I do however remember faces and injuries and stories.

I can remember her evaluating our aerobic routines as newbie instructors and watching her yell at the teachers who were off of the beat. It really did feel like the army.

“You are off…start again. Again. Listen for the beat! Just do it. No..not right. Not good enough.  Fix this!”

We were all scared to death of her I think, but only because we respected her incredible talent so much. She was teaching us to handle pressure and difficult situations so that we would be able to flourish in a real class setting.  She wanted us to be successful.

Though she had a tough side, she was extremely funny while sharing her own stories of teaching nightmares and she was always the first one to laugh at anything she may have said or done that was incorrect. She leads with her heart and this is what I love most about Shawna.

Thank you so much for all you have done for me Shawna.  I am only successful at teaching fitness because of the time you took to prepare me properly!

My message for today is to reach out to those people who have played a role in making you fabulous and thank them. You will make their day and yours.

Have a great day everyone,
Beth