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Teaching in the UK without qualifications from an examining board. Possible?


invisiblecircus
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It's a long story, but basically I started training late and trained with an amazing American teacher in the UK who taught non-syllabus classes. I then went to vocational school abroad, have performed professionally and worked in the UK choreographing for various youth and professional companies (all contemporary) and have taught workshops in ballet and contemporary in relation to these but I'd really like to spend more time in ballet.

 

At one point when I had a few freelance contracts on the go, I called the major exam boards asking for details of how I can obtain their associate teaching qualifications and they sent me info of teachers in my area through whom I could study for these. I called all the teachers, and NONE of them wanted to work with me! It seems that they only want to work with girls who have gone through the grades in their school and will ultimately teach for them. They don't want the possibility of someone setting up as a competitor! Since I was busy with work anyway and did have the chance to teach some ballet, I didn't pursue the issue.

 

I currently live in Italy but would like to return to the UK in the future and am thinking about teaching again. There is a teaching course at accademia teatro alla scala which I have been considering applying for, but I'm not sure that would help me if I return to the UK would it?

 

Is qualifying through one of the examining boards the only way to be taken seriously as a ballet teacher in the UK and how common is it for people with no experience of syllabus work to go down that route?

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I understand that the RB runs a teaching course for ex ballet dancers. Daria Klimentova completed this course this year and is now teaching at the RBS. However, I don't know whether this course is really designed for people who will be teaching in vocational schools.

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I would LOVE to teach in a vocational school, but realistically there are so few opportunities and I think that I wouldn't stand a chance against applicants coming from a background of prestigious professional careers.

 

Most of my professional performance experience is in the field of contemporary dance, although ballet was always my strongest discipline.

 

I forgot to mention that I now have a 2 year old and am expecting another baby any day, so would not be able to do a full time teacher's training course (don't know if the RAD still do it.) I am also less flexible with location now.

 

I could do the course at la scala while still living here but don't know (or think) it would be useful if I ended up moving back to the UK. I don't even know how useful it would be here in Italy actually.

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It would depend if you want to teach a syllabus or set up your own non syllabus classes. Providing you have insurance and a DBS check if you are teaching children there is not really any reason why you cannot teach. There are a number of ex professional dancers teaching with no formal teaching qualifications. Having said that your options might be more limited as a lot of parents want there children to do exams. There is no reason why you could not teach v young children or adults who are not doing syllabus or even run your own workshops in the UK but it might be harder without an examining board or contacts in companies/vocational schools within UK.

Many academic schools also have dance classes some which do not follow a national curriculum but this seems to be more in private schools than state schools.

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I'm no expert, but I would think that it depends very much on where you want to teach. If you are teaching in a vocational school, I would imagine things are quite different to a "normal" local dance school. Of course the majority of children who attend ballet lessons at their local schools will have no aspirations to dance professionally, but many will want to do exams - or at least their parents will want them to. It is the norm with many out of school activities in the UK, be it music, swimming, martial arts or whatever, that there is a "ladder" of achievement to climb, and most parents will expect that in dance as well. There are pros and cons to that of course, and the value of exams will vary depending on the type of student, but it is the way things are, whether we like it or not. I would think that it is therefore quite hard to teach in a regular dance school without the ability to enter pupils for exams, which does mean that you have to be affiliated to one of the major organisations, or work for a teacher who is, and can therefore enter pupils on your behalf.

More "serious" students and their parents may well be less concerned about this kind of thing, and more interested in your experience and other credentials, but the bulk of most dance teachers' income will come from teaching the "once or twice a week" student, most of whom will want the opportunity to do exams. Also, certainly in my experience, non qualified dance teachers in the UK often do not function to terribly high standards, either in the technical quality of their teaching, or adherence to health and safety etc. Typically these are run by women who danced themselves as children and just set up a class in their neighbourhood, charge a couple of pounds a week and enter their children in local carnivals etc, and the standard is often poor. I realise that you are talking about something completely different in your case, but many new ballet mums will not be able to differentiate between an "unqualified teacher" like that, and a "teacher without formal teaching qualifications" such as yourself. When my DD first expressed a wish to dance, I would not have taken her to a teacher who wasn't affiliated to an exam board, for all those reasons. I don't think that all qualified teachers are wonderful, and all unqualified ones are awful, but for the majority of children and parents, a qualified teacher will be the preferred option, so it may be hard without the qualifications.

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The question is: do you want to set up your own dance school or do you want to be employed/engaged by someone else? If the former, then you may have difficulty in attracting pupils if you are not affiliated to one of the main examining boards. If the latter then it may not matter provided that you can convince the school owner that you can teach syllabus classes (assuming that it is a syllabus school, which most are). It's easy to get DVDs for each RAD syllabus. I don't know about the other boards. You should also bear in mind that some boards are more popular in some areas than others. In London, for example, most schools seem to be affiliated to the RAD or the ISTD, although there are some large Cecchetti schools as well.

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I don't normally post here but, following from Aileen's question, above, much might also depend on whether you hoped to enter candidates for exams of the major Boards.  I'm aware of a teacher, qualified in many ways but who had not done a RAD course to register as a RAD teacher, who has discovered that she cannot now enter pupils for RAD exams - and I would imagine that the same might apply to ISTD.

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I know that you can transfer from board to board (at least within ISTD & IDTA in another genre)

 

I also know that you can study & qualify through the HQ of ISTD (again within another genre)

 

& there are many 'teacher training' type colleges - I think like this http://www.thecentrepac.com/diploma-in-teaching-studies/

 

 

But I'm not sure any of that helps, sorry

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RAD offer several teacher training courses that are part time and distance learning.  You would need to investigate how feasible any of them are for being based Italy as I do not know the exact course content for if you have contacts there to enable you to do it Back in this country it might be that you need to apply to dance schools for a part time teaching position as an experienced but not qualified teacher.  A school does not need all its teachers to be qualified and able to enter students into exams - as long as a senior teacher or the principal can check on students progress and enter the students.  The school where my DD dances have taken on 2 teachers for training in this way - both experienced dancers but with no formal qualification and both with full time jobs.  They did a distance learning course and took a few supervised classes each week.  The course did involve a few days at HQ in London I believe.  One of them was retained by the school after she qualified and the other set up her own school - something the principal had known she had intended to do but it did not bother her as she would not have had the capacity to take on both in any case.

RAD also offer a full time intensive course - again you would need to investigate further for if it would meet your needs.

 

http://www.rad.org.uk/study/higher-education

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I would second what 2dancersmum says. The RAD run lots of courses that are distance learning and they are very helpful if you contact them. I would say rather than trying to guess ring each of the examining boards and ask what they offer, I would recommend RAD, ISTD, IDTA and BBO . I am sure you could find something to suit.

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