New students don’t know the importance of coming to class early and speaking with the instructor beforehand about their concerns or questions. It is not their fault they usually come to class at the last moment; perhaps it is a reflection of their nervousness about coming at all.
You have invested a lot of work. Will you ever see them again?
What if you could send the new student away with something tangible? Something that would remind them of the most important points you’ve stressed? Something that will answer the questions they forgot to ask, or were afraid to ask for fear of seeming uncool?
A great answer to this problem is a simple new student handout. You can keep a handful in your teaching bag (along with music backup, stopwatch, goniometer, and other handy items). In the long run, having a new student handout will save you time and it will help you gain committed new students.
What do you say in your new student handout? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Below you can download the handout I use at my YMCA. You will want to make changes so your handout will be as specific as possible to your own unique class circumstances. This article will give you more ideas about what to say in a new student handout and how to say it.
Ask yourself, “What do new students want to know? What do they need to know?” Put yourself in their place and think about how you would feel and what you would need. Imagine knowing nothing about how the bikes work, how to set it up, or even how to control the pedals. What kinds of questions are top of mind for your new students? What questions are you asked most frequently?
Here are some specific things to consider for your own new student handout: