What Do You Expect From Your Teacher?
From SB: Very important question. I have many thoughts on this and will name a few.
Private Lesson and Group Lessons I need the teacher to have a very specific agenda ("Lesson plan" in school teaching jargon.) Nothing is more frustrating (to me) than a teacher who comes to the lesson with no particular plan. Or, equally as bad, teaches one step(s) one week and then does something totally different next week. (This is why I feel your syllabus teaching is very useful.) Along with this, I don't find strictly steps the most helpful because I know we students need technique to head towards more proficiency.
Private Lesson Praises and Pushes (More school teaching jargon.)
Pushes: Quality dancing requires so many facets I can just imagine how hard it must be for the dance teacher to give advice. However, I get very confused when my teacher gives me too much information. I'd prefer if the teacher were able to pick out no more than one or two blatant errors and then help me to begin to assimilate those tips into my dancing.
"Praises:" In my teacher workshops it's been suggested to make praise specific. I'm always thrilled when a dance teacher tells me "good job" but know it would be more helpful if I was told exactly what it was I was doing that was helping me improve. Finally, speaking for myself, I have very specific goals regarding my dancing. I like my teacher to be a good listener and consider my goals as they help me to be a better dancer.
From LM: Having a teacher that will challenge you to do better.
From AA: Hi Sandra, I like your notes about what dance students should expect from a good teacher. It may also be worth noting that in the competitive side of dance, we often expect our teachers to be coaches. Personally, I expect a few additional things from a coach. I think a coach should help students find and identify good partners (though I suppose this is moot for pro-ams). He or she should guide beginner students through the nuts and bolts of competing. Last, and perhaps most important, a coach should help students decide which styles and levels to compete in. Thanks for reading my thoughts. Best, Adam
From SGM: I have found that taking lessons is usually a waste of time. Dance teachers are very lax about starting and ending on time, showing up prepared, giving full attention. Many times a teacher has not been able to answer my questions with a direct, concise, believable, reasonable, astute answer. Most people can learn what they need to know by just dancing. A man just needs to be able to get a woman to go where he wants and a woman just needs to be attractive and slim to get a partner. One partner admitted to me that he enjoys only dancing with women who are 'light.'