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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Teaching Dance - The Ups, The Downs and the Frustrations!


I've faced a lot of frustrations and general thoughts about teaching dance this week and wanted to share those with my blog. I teach in a primary school twice, a SEN school and at a dance organisation  in the space of a working week. I cannot explain how much I've just wanted to breakdown during the course of the week so time to let it go and just write...

1. Don't be afraid to attempt something new.

This is something which I feel is important for a young person's development and I try to attempt new ideas in most situations that I am in when teaching. It has had it's complete miracles and really engaged young people *punches the air* and it honestly feels great! I love using new music in new settings and bringing new ideas into the space that they wouldn't necessarily work with before. In other experiences I've really struggled to engage young people until the point they're walking out of the room and you feel basically lost and without inspiration to move forward. I have learnt to just accept some kids may need a bit of extra time to be inspired by new ideas. I definitely think it's a great idea to involve them in leading the warm ups or deciding the games we play within our sessions. I just need to go with what I know and not be afraid of the consequences.. This leads nicely onto my next point.

2. Not EVERYTHING you will do is to every child's cup of tea. 

I am always pretty hard on myself when I see a child not 'quite' enjoying the session I am leading as I would have hoped. I hate the feeling like I am disappointing that child and that they may not probably bother coming to my after school club the next week. It's such an awful feeling but you have to grasp the attitude of those who do engage with what your doing and do enjoy what your presenting them to work with. I have decided to try and just enjoy what I'm doing, the kids will engage with whatever enthusiasm I am throwing at them.

I always try and ensure that those engaged aren't forgotten and get some form of praise. Feedback to young people is so important to them, they want to be noticed and praised so DO IT! 

3. PLAN PLAN PLAN (but be prepared for things to change)

I genuinely believe planning my session really benefits how it goes. I sometimes forget to give some time in my day to sit and plan what I'd like to work with and the music I'll use. It really helps boost that confidence of mine before I start my lesson and I definitely need to do more of it. However things can suddenly shift so I always have a list of ideas in a toolbox when I need a bit of assistance.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support.

I am the worst person when it comes to asking for some help and assistance. I really like that feeling of self-accomplishment and doing it on my own. It's my inner strong woman and something that comes so naturally to me! But in recent days, especially this week I have decided to throw down that wall and actually talk to fellow teachers and get some advice.. along with some dutch courage that I am doing the right thing(s)! I often forgot how lonely teaching can sometimes be, your on your own in that room and have to satisfy the needs of a lot of young people. I definitely have put it in my list of things to do a lot more often now, through teaching, through my other work. I have to remember that people have been there before and I should just accept that I need some support sometimes. 

So having a great support network is something essential for freelance dance workers and I am sure a lot of those would agree with me too!

5. Keep Learning...

This is something I am so keen to get sorted. I want to go to more classes for myself so that I am developing my own moving body needs. I get so angry with myself when there's opportunities to move in a studio or watch work and I don't get involved or my anxiety gets the better of me. It's really key for your own self to continue working with your own personal needs, there's so much I would love to do and I need to do it.

I really want to work in more SEN schools and have my own classes across my county, I'm working on it and definitely need to commit more time to do it. I want to do my teaching qualification (I think) it's just deciding whether to hold out for a year to get some more experience :).. hmm

6. Remember to enjoy what you do!

Whenever I am feeling lost, or frustrated with my working week I have to remember this is what I chose to do with my career and I do actually love it! There is massive perks of working with young people and being part of their development as dancers and young people in general. I have recently seen a lot of work from young people through UDance platforms and such, there's so much out there that makes you remember why teaching young people dance is such a brilliant thing!

Do any of you out there have any tips?
thanks for reading,

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