It is often said those that can’t do, teach. I believe those that can do, teach. I teach because the most rewarding part is witnessing a child when they come full circle with a piece of choreography, a combination, or a correction they have been working on diligently. It might take a dancer several years to achieve it, but as a teacher, it is an unbelievably gratifying thing to witness.
For me, I can’t imagine doing anything else. I have been teaching dance and choreographing for close to 20 years and have truly loved watching children grow up and I take the responsibility of being a positive role model in their lives very seriously. I have taught kids from the time they were 2 ½ and now am honored to know them as adults. Some of them even work at the studio now!
Growing up my teachers were very hard on me, but it was tough love. They taught me it’s not about being the “cool” teacher; it’s about being the teacher who teaches and cares. The one who is hard on you, calls you out when you have a bad attitude, when you are not focused and prepared for class. The one who gives you the same correction over and over until you get it. They were tough, but I learned a fantastic life lesson. They actually really cared about me, they wanted to see me succeed and they taught me the most valuable lesson of all…life isn’t fair or easy. It is about the journey and if you fail, how you pick yourself back up. My toughest teacher is my role model. The person I look up to still to this day and have modeled my teaching after.
I gain a new understanding every day on how to teach, what motivates young dancers, and how to include the dancer in the learning process. I do not teach dance with the goal of creating professional dancers, although I have taught a lot of dancers who have gone on to have a professional career in a dance company, teaching, and arts education. I teach to help children of all ages gain a sense of self. I teach because it feels good to give back and to provide a positive experience in someone’s life. At Kaleidoscope, we firmly believe in promoting positive self-esteem, and instilling children with grace, poise, and confidence. Those attributes will take you far in life whether you choose a career in the arts or not.
Whether I have had a student for a year, 18 years, or maybe just a class, I hope that I have made a positive impact in their lives, if even just for that hour. Sometimes the greatest joy in teaching is having a small hand in helping someone become who they are supposed to become.