The words we say as a teacher move the class. A good teacher says very little and is cautious with word choice no matter if its a group or private class. In a few words an instructor has to provide action, explain what body part is moving (or not) and give a direction. Most people are visual learners so to be able to process words into movement can be a challenge. We all interpret phrases different ways.
A basic way to cue Footwork would be:
"Lengthen the spine away...bend the knees to return"
"Press the knees out...pull the heels toward your seat"
It's also important to make sure the cues you use are more gender neutral. They should express common images to show us how Pilates relates back to our daily life activities.
100s: "Stand in the air"
Overhead: "Stand on the ceiling"
Coordination: "As a gymnast pressing into the rings (handles)"
"Puncture the mat with your elbows"
Rowing 4: "Park your hands next to your hips"
"Slide off you pants"
Lifting or Shaving: "Imagine you have 400lb dumbbells to press"
"Raise the roof/Resist the ceiling from caving in"
Mermaid/Side Bend: "Scrape your fingers against the ceiling"
Short Box/Spine Stretch: "Inflate your spine"
Heels Beats/Leg Springs: "Clap your heels for a job well done"
Get creative with imagery cues or jazz up your normal class lingo by avoiding common phrases such as "pull your navel to your spine".