By Angela D’Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web
Our dance seasons have either just begun or in some parts of the world they are in full swing. The question is how can you as a studio owner keep your teachers productive? Well, what do I mean by that? I’m sure that most of you have teachers that do a fantastic job year in and year ou,t and are constantly inspired to produce great students and wonderful choreography for you. However there are probably others that feel that they have teachers who are perhaps doing an adequate job but who you wish would be more invested in your program and able to keep the students more engaged in class and more excited about their choreography.
As we know, when you are a teacher it is necessary to constantly be learning yourself and always keeping up with the latest trends and new ideas. Some teachers do not feel that it is necessary to be open to new ideas or to change the way they teach, and they may have a very sound way of teaching but may be having difficulty getting through to their students. This can happen with experienced teachers and with teachers who have relatively little experience. The way students learn and respond to their dance teachers is constantly evolving and as a result even an extremely good teacher can sometimes become frustrated with her classes. No matter what kind of teacher you have working for you, it is important to help them become more productive and inspired.
One of the ways that you can help them is by giving them opportunities to do more. Perhaps ask them to choreograph something for a different group. Arrange for them to attend workshops where they can not only learn some new ideas but can meet with other teachers who perhaps can inspire them or help to answer questions that they may have. Discover what their hidden talents are, perhaps they are only teaching classes in one form of dance and yet studied others growing up or in college but just haven’t had the confidence to teach those styles. Give them an opportunity to teach something different or perhaps a different age level and you will be amazed at how something like that can give that teacher a renewed confidence and zest for teaching. I have one teacher who is absolutely great at teaching the pre-school level and I constantly told her what a great job she was doing, but I always felt hat she wasn’t totally happy, that is until the day I asked her to choreograph a number for our senior company dancers. Well, you would have thought that I had told her she won the lottery for a million dollars! She was so pumped to do this number that she changed overnight to a teacher who was happy all the time and I could use in so many other ways. She did a fantastic job with her company number and was absolutely content to continue working with the pre-school students but also started teaching tap and jazz to some of the older students. It was a win/ win situation and only happened because I gave the teacher an opportunity to do more because I believed she could. The result was that she felt more stimulated with all of her classes and appreciative that I had faith in her ability.
I’m sure that you will be able to come up with other ways to keep your teachers producing the best and I think it is important to help them even if they think it is not necessary. Getting them to step outside their comfort zone is always a good thing. When you give your teachers new opportunities it is a great way to keep them feeling good about themselves and will make them want to stay with you for years to come.