As I prepare to get back in the classroom with my students, I ask myself what my goals as a teacher are for the year ahead. The easy answers come in the form of new warm-ups, new music compilations for class, and collecting enough new & challenging movement concepts to keep my students ‘on their toes’ throughout the year.
Something I also like to think about are my goals as an individual, as a person, and as a mentor in the classroom. These goals always boil down to one important thing, which is to make my students feel good about themselves. I cherish my toddler, pre-school, and kindergarten classes for this reason. My goals in the classroom at this age are simple yet effective. I am teaching these young little dancers some of the most basic concepts, but they bring the joy of discovery and self-confidence to each child in that classroom. The first time a 3 year old learns to stand in first position and that feeling of something new…Or the first time a kindergartner understands shuffle and realizes that sound & feeling go together in perfect harmony in Tap dance… The simple joy that teaching with creative approaches and simple goals are what being in the classroom is all about.
Sometimes I lose sight of this simplicity, especially as I work with advanced level dancers or competitive level dancers that are in the stage of training that requires fine-tuning and corrections in class. As I prepare my list of goals for the upcoming season, I will not forget that happiness is one of them. The feeling of freedom that comes with understanding movement and executing it without hesitancy is a feeling that all dancers deserve to feel. Sometimes there may be hurdles to overcome in order to get that double pirouette, or to kick that leg a big higher, but those are GOALS that I want to keep alive in each of my dancers. Helping my students to seek the happiness & joy of dance is a goal that I will try to achieve this year.