Friday, March 15, 2013

A Thought Provoking Stance on Teaching...

I stumbled across a recent blog post about a teacher struggling with teaching young adults in a professional dance class atmosphere.  The tendency of structured dance curriculum is that it is focused.  There are aspects of the curriculum that are taught a certain way.  It is the responsibility of the teacher to incorporate motivational techniques to keep their students enriched with the curriculum.  To teach them in a way that the information you are providing reaches them.  I've never taught professional dance classes.  My main focus in dancing has always been aerial- a world of gray surrounded by dance disciplines that are often black and white.  I have always enjoyed tapping into my creativity when teaching pole or aerial.  There are so many ways to approach the curriculum of the aerial world that the main struggle one could argue is what approach works best for what situation.  The truth is, there are countless approaches for all the countless situations instructors will encounter.  It's all about reading the moment and having the ability to assess your student and situation to reach for what will work the best.  All this while making sure you clearly communicate the message you want your students to receive.  It can be challenging.  It also can be very rewarding.

Being an instructor is often portrayed as knowing it all.  This is not the case.  An instructor teaches what they know all while continuing to learn. An instructor is a teacher and a student.  After reading through the blog post that provoked my need to write this, I found myself contemplating the message the writer was trying to convey.  I found their message to be originated from frustration due to the lack of self motivation their students were displaying.  I've encountered situations in the past where students were frustrated all while I felt tapped out of my ability to offer anything resourceful. This left me feeling frustrated. I don't think my students have lack of self motivation- this is something I don't believe I've encountered past a beginner pole class.  I can relate to the writer in feeling their teaching isn't reaching.  My instincts told me I'd hit a wall and I decided to seek out another resource- a fellow instructor.  I'd like to say that this experience was an overall wonderfully positive one, however I can only elaborate on the situation to say that the intended result for the student was achieved. It's unfortunate a negative experience was encountered when the only intent was to help a student meet a goal that had been an ongoing struggle.  Something I took from that experience was knowing what resources I can depend upon in the future and feel comfortable relying on.

As an instructor we sometimes need to consult with our peers- or even our students, to develop a strategy that suits a challenging situation.  Overall, regardless of the outcome when pursuing a resolution, there will always be something to learn and build upon.  The world of pole is such an interesting one.  There are people so willing to lift others up and there are people so willing to cut each other down.  It's where business meets passion.  A combination that could be really great or really ugly- no in between.  Instructors get to have a front row seat to all the different faces the world of pole portrays.  As an instructor it's important to remember why you began teaching the form of dance you teach.  And to remember that you too once were a student, and still are.  Rely on your trusty resources when you feel at a standstill.  In the end, you and your students will benefit from a fresh approach.  Sometimes that is all that is needed. 

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