wish-upon-a-ballet-Mon-Meg-2012Everyone knows the value of a good teacher in any discipline. Go back and go through your career as a student, whether it be in school or dance class, and think about the teachers that really made a difference in your life and helped shape you as a person.

Think about what exactly it was that made them special to you. They were probably caring, passionate about what they were teaching and seemed to genuinely care about you and your development.

If you are an aspiring teacher it helps to think about the teachers that affected you in a positive way. What were the qualities that they possessed that you would like to possess? When I think about my favorite teachers, what I stated above is true. I felt as if they really cared about me and my progress. I felt like they actually saw each student no matter what their ability was. No matter if they were the best in the class or needed a bit more instruction. They were patient and kind. To be honest however, I feel the most important quality that they possessed was that they had a passion for what they were teaching. They were enthusiastic every time they came to class. What they had to say was the most important and exciting thing that they had to share. They were excited and it made the students excited!

If you are a dance teacher and you love to dance this should be easy. Thinking about it the longer I teach the more excited I become to share what I know with my students. I think that comes from feeling like a student myself. I still take classes and learn from others. Therefore, I always have new ideas and different points of view to share with my students. Share what you love with your students. Give that passion to them. Not only do we want to create good dancers we want to create dance appreciators. If your students do not become dancers as adults they may want to go see dance performances and support the dance community in their area. You are fortunate to be able to so what you love. Be thankful!

If you are a parent looking for a dance class for your child, how do you know how to find a good teacher? You might be especially concerned about this if you are not a dancer and do not know what proper dance technique is. I get asked this question all the time because I do not offer ballet classes beyond my preschool dance class at all my locations.

The advice I give to the parents of my students is that to find a good dance program and teacher you first really need to decide what kind of training you would like for you child. Do you want a program that is recreational or does your child really want to be a dancer and put in the time to do so? What does your budget allow for dance classes. There are so many option so you will need to shop around after you decide what you want.

After you and your child have decided the path you would like to take that should narrow the field a bit. Find a couple dance schools in your area and ask questions. What kind of question you ask will depend on what you are looking for. For example:

Is the program competitive or recreational?

How many times per week would they like students to take class?

How much time is spent on creative movement and how much is spent on learning dances?

What is their view on age appropriate moves and costumes?

And about the teachers:

Are they friendly and open to conversation?

Do they show interest in your child?

Are they dressed appropriately and professionally?

Do the students seem to be learning?

Do the students listen to the teacher?

These are just some questions that you can ask yourself. You may come up with more as you go along. Even if you are not a dancer you can tell a good teacher from a poor one.

If you are an aspiring teacher. Ask yourself the same questions about yourself. In my book, How to Teach Preschool Ballet, I go into these topics more in depth. As a dance teacher, yes it is important to be a good dancer in order to demonstrate good skills to your students but there is so much more to being a good teacher than just dance. Check out my book for more information.

Good teacher are invaluable! We need them in all different areas of our lives. Be thankful for the good ones that you have had and pass it along!