There is a real difference between being a good dancer, a good dance teacher and a good kids dance teacher. Too often, people think that because some are good competitive dancers, they will be good teachers or even good kids dance teachers as well. That is not necessarily the case. Little do they know that dancing is one skill, teaching kids how to dance is another. Young kids and toddlers are not like average adults who can understand most of the things that teachers convey, or express what they feel towards the content they are learning. To successfully teach children dancing, dance teachers in every kids dance school has to develop their own methods of catching little dancers’ attention, delivering their skills effectively, taking good care of each students and so on. Obviously the criteria for a good teacher will depend on the kids dance school’s philosophy and age group that they are teaching. But in general, here are some key qualities that are imperative to any kids dance teachers and are also what we look for when hiring and mentoring our Dance To EvOLvE teachers.
Professionalism: Kids dance school teachers need to be able to answer parents’ questions and communicate important information. They need to be reliable to be at class consistently and to be on time.
Knowledgable About Dance Development: The instructors in childrens dance schools need to know when students are ready to advance. It is crucial that they do not teach above the student’s age or level if their muscles and strength are not ready. Different levels of expectation should be applied to different ages of little dancers. For example, for our Magical Munchkins tap dancing class for 2-years-old toddlers, teachers would expect just the movement of legs and feet from them. However, if it were Start Shiners tap dancing class for 5 years old, the teachers would require the little ones to actually make the sound from dance moves.
Truly Passionate: Teaching in a kids dance school should be a true delight for the instructors. Great teachers enjoy the art of teaching dance, and enjoy being in the studio as a teacher watching their students grow. Their enthusiasm towards dance and teaching is contagious and will definitely affect and shape the little dancers’ attitude in dancing as well. Plus, teachers must truly love this age group, no faking it with a 3-year old.
Good Class Management: One of the biggest characteristics of great dance teachers that we see missing in a lot of great dancers is the ability to manage a class. The little dancers need to stay engaged and focused in a way that makes class fun while keeping them safe. Class management is imperative to a successful, efficient and productive class in a dance school for children. This is an acquired skill and should definitely be continually watched so the teacher can improve.
Good Preparation: A unique thing that our kids dance school’s teachers are required to do in order to maintain high quality classes is a lesson plan to ensure that teachers are not just ‘winging’ it week to week. All our teachers, for all ages and levels, also must complete teacher shadowing and a teacher development workshop once a year. Teachers can learn so much from each other and it is important to watch others to keep those creative juices flowing.
Every kids dance school has different sets of criteria about choosing teaching staff. The teachers are what differentiate or ‘make’ a kids dance school. Dance To EvOLvE has some of the best teachers around but they are all different and have different teaching methods. Some teachers are higher energy and louder and some have a much calmer quality to them. Neither of these types is better than the other, but just different and can have different effects on your little dancer. Thus it is also important to find out who is the right teacher for your little dancers. The first thing parents should do is to visit the website of the kids dance school they select and look at the description of its dance teachers. Pay attention to their education background, dance experience and personality, which is revealed in the way they introduce themselves. Besides reading the introduction of teachers, parents can also try visiting a kids dance teacher’s class and watch to see if the class seems organized and well run or if the little ones have enough time dancing and taking breaks. Talking to teachers directly after class will be helpful too. Prepare specific questions about little ones such as what the teachers will do if their children are not following instructions.
Overall, picking the right dance teacher for your child is essential to the kind of dance experience your little ones will have in the future. A great, skillful teacher with the qualities mentioned above will guide the little dancers to develop the same passion towards dance he or she has already discovered.