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Terrible class - support needed!


miss.pointe
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I taught a ballet class last night and got stuck in the tube so was 5 minutes late and it threw off my whole class and I felt terrible! I had three new starters and forgot to place them where they could see me/stronger dancers, I lost my timing on several exercises, I marked through an exercise in a faster tempo than it actually was which made me look like I didn't know what I was doing, arrghhh!

 

Any teachers out there care to share their class shambles to make me feel better? Feeling like I'm the only one right now! :(

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Baby brain! It's a cliche but it happened to everyone I know who's had babies even the ultra organised ones! I used to find some things put away in bizarre places (car keys in the fridge?!!). Maybe you could make a checklist of things to do during class; introduce yourself, place newbies etc etc. it may help to reduce stress levels!

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Don't worry we all have these off days....though I say this as a retired ordinary teacher rather than dance teacher. Also I'm sure your particular class know you have just had a baby....blame it on your hormones!

 

Sometimes it's a good chance to let your students shine....if they realise something isn't quite right and say something just say "of course x Thankyou that's so helpful of you" etc etc.

 

I'm looking forward to some other "off day" stories now!!

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Lack of sleep! It happened to all of us new mums (old mums and non mums as well actually) but especially new mums... Don't worry about it! It will get better...

 

Not to forget" Primary maternal preoccupation", Winnicott's very important concept on the first few weeks of motherhood! For non specialist, I can explain when I finish baking... 

Edited by afab
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Ive got far too many "off days" in a career of teaching to recall just now but one memory still sticks out when I did have a eighteen months teaching just Dance (not ballet) and worked in two different schools which made me laugh at the time as they were in completely opposite ends of London one being in the White City area and the other in Whitechapel!

 

Anyway one of the schools wanted me take a dance lesson with their Nursery children an age group at the time not that familiar with. So I planned this 30 min session down to the last detail but of course 3-4 year olds being as they are....they didn't want to finish with the nice gallopy bit when I did but when they did!! I must couldnt get them to stop!!In the end I sort of gave up any sort of formal intention with the class and just danced around with them to the music!!

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You know what - I was here kicking myself and didn't once think of "baby brain"/lack of sleep/etc! They all know I have a small baby so hopefully will understand.

 

Nice idea about letting them shine - I did manage a "that's a great question!" when someone asked whether, due to my odd instructions, to jump on the beat or on the "and"!

 

I actually dropped me new girls a line to say I hope they weren't overwhelmed, we will get there, didn't help that I was having an off day, etc - I got a lovely response so hopefully all good :)

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Be kind to yourself, especially if you have just had a baby! If it helps, I had a terrible class with nursery kids today (I teach music and creative movement). I couldn't get them all to focus at the same time and almost yelled "ok ok, I give up". Just one of those days!

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The good thing about a "bad" day is that it gives us pause and causes us to think about it...and learn from it.

 

There is no way that we will be our best every day.  Some days are just - what I call - "maintenance" days.  We might not move forward, but since we stop to analyze what happened - it is not a backward step.

 

It's just one day.

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The good thing about a "bad" day is that it gives us pause and causes us to think about it...and learn from it.

 

There is no way that we will be our best every day.  Some days are just - what I call - "maintenance" days.  We might not move forward, but since we stop to analyze what happened - it is not a backward step.

 

It's just one day.

This is so true, Anjuli_Bai. Once I had calmed myself down I made a mental list of all the things I would do differently if it happened again.

 

The main thing is if I'm late, don't rush into the class. Tell everyone, "I'm sorry I'm late! I just need two minutes to get changed and get my bearings, so can you warm up/mark through while I do that?"

 

I'm a new teacher, this is only my second year of teaching dance I'm going into. I'm sure I will lose some students along the way through mistakes, my biggest worry, but I'm also sure that happens to lots of teachers when they first start out and I will learn from it.

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I assure you that you will lose students every year you teach.While thinking over the events of each class is a good thing, I can also assure you that losing students is part of game and you should never assume that you are at fault.  You will make your quota of mistakes - we all do.  However, students leave for a multiplicity of reasons.  Some of those reasons you will be aware of while others you will never learn the reason.

 

About rushing into class....  I found that either as a teacher or a student, it was almost impossible to "catch up."  Actually, in 40 yrs of teaching and taking class, I was only late-ish (arrived at the last moment) once.  But I didn't  have a baby and I didn't depend upon public transportation - and I always gave myself a great deal of time. This was very  important to me because I needed time to "put away" the world and enter the special space of a ballet studio.  It was as much a mental necessity as a physical one.  That one time that I arrived out  of breath, I felt as if I never caught my breath for the rest of the class time.

 

"I'm a new teacher, this is only my second year of teaching dance I'm going into. I'm sure I will lose some students along the way through mistakes, my biggest worry"

 

Worrying about your class, however, is not the answer.  It's not a useful response to a problem.

 

Analyze, learn, try a different strategy - but "worry" doesn't help.  As long as you engage - make eye contact - have a special moment with - connect with - each student at least once during each class, and teach in a positive way - a warm  - safe - environment - you are well on your way.

 

Teaching is not about knowing information - it is about giving away that information in a useful manner.   Don't be afraid to try things, don't be afraid to fail - don't be afraid to attempt a physical movement - such as a multiple pirouette - or a complicated sequence.  Your students will not think less of you.  If you are not afraid to try and sometimes fail  - they will not be afraid to try and sometimes fail.

 

Actually, I hate that word "fail" - it's not failure - it's an attempt at success.

 

I hope I've said something here which is useful. 

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Teaching is a bit like performing - there are some performances that are magical, when it seems that the whole company is inspired and the audience along with them and there are some that are humdrum and a bit flat.  I find in the same way that there are classes when I feel energised and enthusiastic and really see that I am inspiring the students and some when I'm just giving them a class :(  As they say "Life's like that".  Just don't beat yourself up about a class that doesn't work out how you want it to - we all, however experienced we may be, have off days and there's always another class on another day to make up for it :)

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