To be a teacher is to eliminate pride and think about others the same as you think about yourself and your family. Your class becomes your family. You get to know your students by their names, and every day you learn more about their personality. Once you know them and they feel it, students are happy and confident when you are around them, and that gives you motivation. You’re doing your best to stay on top of your field inside and outside of your areas of expertise, and your knowledge must not be limited to curriculum and art canons. But you must also create an atmosphere of motivation and confidence that keeps the good vibe in the class and this is the way to do so:

  • Start with a clean mind, forget old theories and past experiences that you’ve held on to so much that disturb you from learning fresh new concepts, ideas which could open up your mind and be really limitless.
  • Listen carefully to the thoughts and ideas expressed by your students, without the attitude that says that you know better or heard it before. A teacher’s mission is not only to teach, but also to be receptive enough towards her/his students. But talking is generally not permitted during the ballet class at all, and the teacher usually teaches a routine without encouraging students to improvise and make their own choreographic touches. If students will ask questions pertinent to the dance routine, then they are really involved and striking a short conversation will help them to learn faster.
  • Effective teaching is also about connecting the gap between theory and practice, and this is what I do in my dance classes. In order to do so you need to get students to be involved and dedicated. It is difficult to innovate and improvise when you are teaching an art that has a certain canon, but every individual student has his/her own personality, which needs a personal attention. Therefore, it is very important to give that personal attention and guidance to every student who is striving to master a technique.
  • An effective class also needs a strong team spirit. A teacher is very much like a conductor where students play different instruments and tunes. It is very important for a teacher to teach students how to work as a team and encourage them to have a unity. Trough dance our children learn to show respect, tolerance and how to support each other.
  • Finally, nobody goes home unrewarded. At the end of each class students must feel that they have done a good job and go home with in a good mood and with a clear mindset. Do not forget to mention them to repeat and practice further, whenever they have chance, and give them a short homework to do or think about.

Irina Lapteva