Friday, June 21, 2024

Do dazzling resumes equal the best instructors?

Out of the countless dance instructors I’ve had over my decades-long career, two come to mind. The first was a former Broadway star, whose dance classes were as mundane and rote as he was arrogant, discouraging, and uncreative. The second was a dancer who found her success in MTV videos, whose teaching was not only disjointed and disorganized, but she couldn’t find the 5-6-7-8 in a song, let alone teach it.

They were not only former pros with impressive, “star” backgrounds but also the worst instructors I’ve ever had.

To be sure, the pros know how to do it – they’ve proven that. But, as instructors & coaches, do the “stars” have the gift of passing on their skills, or are they resting on their laurels? While being a pro doesn’t mean you can’t teach, it clearly doesn’t mean you can.

So, as parents, how do we know our children are in good hands? What do we look for in a star-quality teacher?

  • Instruction is age and level-appropriate in pace, delivery, content.
  • Instructor is organized, positive, respectful, knowledgeable, skilled, and loves teaching.

Still, how can we be sure? The answer often lies within our kids – in what they’re saying and what they’re not.

  • Are they perpetually bored or frustrated?
  • Are they routinely burnt out, injured, discouraged? Or…
  • Do they look forward to going to class most of, if not all, the time?
  • Are they progressing, learning, improving?
  • Are they consistently encouraged, positive, excited about class/practice?

There are, of course, a lot of variables that can affect our kids’ experiences:

  • Time of day/week/year
  • Being over-scheduled, tired, sleep-deprived
  • Age and developmental level

All things considered, kiddos typically respond very favorably to positive, appropriate, high-quality instructors – dazzling resumes or not. When that happens, you know you’ve found your “star.”

Pam Ray, BSE, CH, is the owner/director of Dallas West Dance Centre in Argyle; a certified facilitator for ACT, a parenting program by the American Psychological Association; a clinical certified hypnotherapist; and a member of the National Dance Education Organization.

(Sponsored content)

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