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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Putting Myself in My Students' {Dancing} Shoes.....

This summer my dear sister-in-law suggested that we take a dance class together.  I guess after two years spent together in the ballet studio's lounge waiting for our daughters, it seemed like a decent idea.  So....even though I have zip-zero-zilch in the way of dance experience, I agreed to join her for a six-week summer session of ballet/hip hop/modern/jazz.  And hey - I've watched every single season of Dancing With the Stars! How hard could it be?
 Well........... here is my visual of how I would look in dance class:
(That was before I discovered that we would not be wearing pointe shoes.  Hmph.) And here is how I actually looked in dance class:

I know because there is a GIANT MIRROR running all the way across the room. I sorta kinda forgot about that. And here's the thing I realized - I never try anything that I don't think I'll have at least some success with.  I'm just not used to failing so miserably. And that first week was - as my students say - an EPIC FAIL. I immediately sympathized with those students I've had that hang out in the back of the room hoping desperately that I don't call on them. Two things happened in that first class that helped me take on a new perspective.

1. The class went WAY too fast for me.  Most of the dancers had much more experience and already knew the moves and dance lingo. I barely had time to absorb one set of moves before another was added. Lesson Learned: Give my students time to practice at their own pace. Explain and demonstrate any tricky words.

2. My sister-in-law did something awesome and was singled out for praise. I messed up and was singled out for correction. Ouch. I shook it off and tried to do better, but....still....ouch. Lesson Learned: Find a way to give corrective feedback in a quiet way and in private if possible. Always find something to praise, too.

And although I am not going to be a prima ballerina anytime soon - I can say that with some focus and practicing on my own at home - each week has gotten a little easier. And I've taken the "Finding Nemo" inspired advice of my classmates: "Don't worry - just keep dancing...just keep dancing!"  And there's a lesson in that, too.

Tonight when I got in my car to head home after dance class, I laughed out loud when this song shuffled through my ipod - and I just had to sing along.............

"I Don't Feel Like Dancin'" - The Scissor Sisters






"......so I'll just pretend that I know which way to bend....."     :-)

26 comments:

  1. Good luck with the dancing! Learning anything new is always great reminder of what it is like to be the student. Thanks for sharing your lessons with all of us. We all need to be reminded. :)

    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Amanda! We have the week off, so I have a little break. (Phew!)

      Delete
  2. Perhaps as teachers we all need to step out of our comfort zones more in order to empathize better with our students. Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by! I think you are right - my empathy was in high gear after that for sure. :-)

      Delete
  3. Perhaps as teachers we all need to step out of our comfort zones more in order to empathize better with our students. Thanks for the post.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Don't worry - just keep dancing...just keep dancing!" - Very inspiring indeed! As long as you are determined to do it, then nothing can keep you from being good at it. Remember, practice makes perfect! It’s okay to make mistakes, but be sure to learn from it. Good luck!

    -Tyson Sieger

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