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A Few Thoughts on Teaching

March 5, 2013

Why are your best teaching days followed by your worst teaching days? Just when you think you are getting through to them they come back at you with underwhelming results.

I am confident in my teaching skills but, teaching young adult students is vastly different from teaching professionals (both of which I do regularly).  The young college students have ideas in their heads about how and what their worlds should be. Daily it is mentally and physically challenging to keep trying to motivate my young  students. Dance is a self-motivated art, and that is something that you cannot teach. I wish there were more students on the self-motivated path. Maybe it is generational? I’m not sure. I haven’t figured that part out yet.

-DS

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2013 11:56 pm

    It’s unfortunate you perceive teaching this way. To be a student is to be a teacher and to be a teacher is to be a student. Perhaps you aren’t as motivational as you think or perhaps what you find to be inspiring is disheartening to your students. As a dance teacher myself it’s all about catering to what calls to their generation. I always try to listen to the needs and desires of my students and meld it with the lesson plans.

    Every teaching experience (whether positive or negative) is an opportunity to grow, learn and get better just as every dance performance is a chance to get better . I search for every way in which to become a better instructor by letting them evaluate me and my teaching – letting them help design choreography or give their opinion on how they want class to be structured that day. I watch other dance teachers, I speak with them and get help where needed.

    If the students are failing it’s always a reflection of the teacher, not necessarily the students if it’s the group as a whole.

  2. March 8, 2013 12:40 am

    Hmm…I believe and understand those sentiments as I have often felt the same way when teaching my younger (high school age) students. It is very valid. Being a younger teacher, I find myself yearning to learn new teaching methods and techniques outside of what my education has imparted to me in order to bring my students new styles and hopefully motivate their movement and broaden their interest and passion for our art form.

    Despite the above poster’s comments, I also feel that dance is somewhat self-motivated and every student may not have the same impetus to dance as another. But in that same breath, I refuse take on the guilt of a few student’s disinterest or distraction as a direct blow to the confidence I have in my teaching, choreography, or motivational practices and neither should you.

    I do indeed advocate continuing to cultivate the student in you to see what works for other teachers and then trying it out in your own environment to see what works. Receiving feedback from students may be beneficial also, but though they can tell you what they would like to do, it may not be in step with the plans or goals you have for them as their instructor.

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