One of the main things I’ve been doing dance-wise on my blogging sabbatical is teaching tap at a local dance studio. I got the job in September through what I can only call a series of fortunate events and am now in the middle of my second session teaching two adult intermediate and beginner tap classes.
This isn’t my first teaching gig, but it is my longest running one and it’s, frankly, the first one where I’ve really felt like I knew what I was doing. My first “teaching” jobs were as a camp counselor at my dance studio’s summer camp when I was 14 and 15 , teaching barre fit at a neighborhood studio and finally most recently teaching dance to K-2nd grade students at an elementary school last fall/winter. And they went, well there’s no sense in sugarcoating, pretty poorly—with the exception of the barre class…that one was okay.
^^^This it was not
It was more like this^^^
Yeah, I like to say that teaching kids just isn’t in my ministry. I have the patience of a gnat and too much energy is overwhelming for me (#introvertprobs).
So being able to work with people who are capable of higher order thinking and reasoning, listening and following directions–and also don’t need to go to the bathroom every few minutes–has been a welcome change, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had to make adjustments.
Relax and Take Notes….
The biggest thing I’ve learned from teaching adults is to always come prepared. I know lots of teachers come to classes not having thought about what they were going to teach and are fine but for me it just causes anxiety. This is mainly because classes with adults move much more slowly than kids’ classes. You’re not spending any time wrangling little people, so it’s easier to cycle through exercises and combinations quickly and run out of things to do earlier in the class.
Because of this I now have a notebook….
And in this notebook I write out everything I plan to do for class. More often than not, I don’t get to everything but I’d rather run out of time than run out of things to do.
Repetition is Good. Repetition is Good.
This is something that’s been said a lot recently by a tap teacher I take class with and it’s SO TRUE! I’m still adjusting to the fact that I’m not dealing with people who get bored easily so it’s okay for me to keep exercises and repeat things (to a point). That said, I don’t want to teach the exact same class every week, so I do try to introduce at least one new element per class that we can build on for the next few weeks. Once I see everybody getting the hang of it, I can retire it and move on to something else.
So far, I’m having fun. I’m making extra money (always nice $$$$$$$$), my friends have come to take my class a few times, and I’m actually getting to know some of my students, one even invited me to have drinks on their birthday! I’m glad things fell into place so I could take this job and I can’t wait to see how my students grow and how they help me grow!