It’s resolution time, dance teachers! Whether you love the practice of making New Year’s resolutions or hate it, the changing of the calendar can be a great time for us to reflect on our teaching practices and set some goals for the next twelve months and beyond. Here are three practical New Year’s Resolutions every dance teacher should make for 2019:
1.) I will teach purposefully and planfully: I will admit that occasionally, I approach teaching like another day at the office. Years of experience and education allow me to “wing it” fairly well when necessary, but it never feels great to teach without a lesson plan supporting the work. When I have a strong lesson plan, supported by a curriculum for the entire year, I know that I am making the best use of my students’ time (and my own!) and helping them progress toward their goals. Teaching from a lesson plan allows for purposeful teaching, guiding students not only in dance technique, but in critical life skills such as grit, responsibility, communication, creativity, and empathy.
For digital tools to help you plan lessons, improve student performance, and manage a studio or program, check out “The Holistic Dance Teacher Collection” on my Resources page. Offerings include a lesson planning tool, journaling guides, class observation worksheets for injured or ill students, a goal-setting guide for students, a staff evaluation kit, and a template for creating a dance teacher handbook.
2.) I will fill my own cup regularly: Teaching is an act of generosity. As educators, we give everything we have to our students. Even though we love what we do, there is no denying that the hours can be tough, the planning and administration can be difficult, and the job takes it toll physically and emotionally. This year, allow yourself time on a regular basis to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of your students. Find practices that excite, inspire, and rejuvenate you! Take a dance class for yourself, read inspirational or educational books, invest in professional development, or engage in non-dance hobbies to give yourself a break from the #danceteacherlife. Prioritizing self-care can help prevent burnout and allow you to give 100% in the studio. For more self-care strategies, check out this blog post – and this one too!
3.) I will support, and find support in, the dance community: For all of the time spent in front of others in the studio, being a dance teacher can still feel isolating. We may be the only dance specialist at our school, or perhaps the studio schedule doesn’t allow for much interaction with our fellow teachers – doesn’t often feel like we are ships passing in the night? It’s difficult for non-dancers to understand the passion, joy, and frustration that comes with our chosen career. At the same time, making our living in the dance studio sometimes means that the last thing we want to do at the end of the week is even think about dance. But it is important that we allow ourselves to support, and be supported by, the dance community. Connect with other dancers and dance teachers, either through social media groups or dance service organizations (such as the National Dance Education Organization or Dance/USA). Show your support for local dance by attending dance concerts whenever possible: local touring groups, college dance concerts, other studio’s recitals. Encourage your students to connect with other local dancers, to build a base of support for themselves and to raise awareness of dance in your community.
Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy new year! Let’s make it the best one yet, in the studio and out!
Visit my Resources page for tools that support a holistic teaching and creative practice. Keep in touch by signing up for my quarterly newsletter, or join me on Facebook at The Holistic Dance Teacher.