teaching

Motivating the Unmotivated

Robert J. Samuelson recently wrote in an Op/Ed piece about higher education about those who are disconnected from it. He described it perfectly:

"School bores and bothers them. Teaching them is hard, because they're not motivated. But they also make teaching the rest harder. Their disaffection and periodic disruptions drain teachers' time and energy. The climate for learning is poisoned."

His description may sound negative, but really it isn't. He hit the nail on the head, and the only way to overcome that disconnect is:  "... to motivate the unmotivated."

These are not terrible, unwanted students. They are certainly capable of learning, even if their desire remains undiscovered, even to themselves.

How do we, as teachers, motivate the unmotivated?


 

Capturing Jealousy: The Little Green Monster

The comments are made in passing...

"I wish I had her feet."

"Man, I wish I could do the splits as easily as you."

"Ugh, her turns are PERFECT. I wish I could turn like that..."

These comments come from a desire within us of wanting to be someone we aren't. We want her legs, her feet, his jumping power, their strength, this or that, over here or over there. The challenge is teaching students to recognize the little green monster before its tentacles reach every aspect of your thought processes, thus affecting every aspect of your life.

How is this done in a performance world where ballerinas have been taught for ages to execute everything the exact same way?


 

Things to Love About Teaching Dance

We'll share with you what we love about the life of being {dun dun dun} a dance teacher!

1. We love that we get to help students on their school projects! Whether it is being interviewed on a dance style or dance history, or calculating heart rates with a specific style of dance, or helping on a lesson about healthy eating for more dance energy... We're always willing to foster learning and pass on creativity mixed with curiosity in our world.


 

How to Be Successful in Class

It’s the first day of school. You get your little one ready: lunch packed, clothes in all the right places, and pencils, paper and all of the other essentials for learning. You take your child to be dropped off and that is where the torch moves from parents’ hands to teachers’ hands.

We, as teachers, need certain things (for lack of better word) from our students’ parents, the same way parents need certain things from their students’ teachers.

First and foremost, and something to never forget, we are on the same team. If your child’s name is Katie, we’re on Team Katie. Michael? Go Team Michael! We just work different hours on the schedule. I know, I know. There is no such thing as a parent “clocking out,” but when it comes to your child’s education… it is a little like clocking out. We pick up after you drop them off, and vice versa.

Directly from teacher to parent, here is what we need from you:

pencils
Photo Source


 

How to Teach Confidence

The first day of dance class: The students come in, quietly put their bags down, then walk to an isolated part of the room to start stretching. Some just stand there. It's as if their bodies are just stuck in the space in a standing position. They look around at the other dancers. Eyeing this, eyeing that, eyeing her, him, me. They have no idea what the class will be like.

First order of business: Confidence.

As teachers, we know if you're going to get these students to dance, and we mean really dance, you have to make them feel comfortable in three different areas:

1. With themselves

2. With their classmates

3. With that inner voice that tells them, "You can!" and "You can't!"


 

What To Love About Teaching

Plain and simple. What we love about teaching.

Watching a student realize they are capable of doing something they never imagined they were capable of.


 

Teaching: Following their Journey

Here's the thing about being a teacher: You have to believe in molasses. It's a long, slow process that involves giving and taking away. It takes patience and hard work, but in the end you're left with something very sweet.

Becoming a teacher is one of the best choices we've ever made. Our students - regardless of age - have opened our eyes to new realizations, feelings and opportunities.

The first day you start teaching, you'll feel nervous but confident in your dancing. Then, you step into the classroom with 12 pairs of little eyes looking back at you with their hands on their hips, and then you'll realize teaching dance is far different than taking dance. Questions will flood into your mind: Where do I begin? Where do they come from? What do they know? How do they learn? How fast? How slow? How do I make them feel comfortable with each other and me and themselves and dance? What can I give to them that they will carry with them forever?

Young teachers want quick results. But as you grow (as an individual and as a teacher), you'll come to respect the process, and the time it takes.


 

Confidence by Trial & Error

We can all agree on at least one thing: Turning the hot water off while in the shower during the winter, so difficult. If you're anything like us, we sit there and stare at it knowing as soon as we turn this off the real world is going to hit us like an ice truck, then we're going to have to get out of the shower, grab the towel, and run - freezing - down the hall, where we will inevitably have to get ready for work and start what we're sure will be a very long day. (Deep breath). That entire process is started by having to admit: "You can't stay here in the warm, soothing water all day."

A lot of people don't do simply because they know the chain of events to follow may be downright uncomfortable. But sometimes, that's exactly what we need.

While we were never scared to dance in front of our fellow arts school classmates, singing was another thing all together. As students in the Musical Theater department, we were required to stand in front of peers, who we were also trying to develop friendships with, and sing. If we could tell you how many times this process felt like sandpaper on sunburn... and how many times we prayed we could unzip our skin and walk away, you would be reading this blog for far longer than you budgeted time for.


 

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