I teach dance. I love teaching dance. I talk about it sometimes. But not much. Why? I have not really come across many people who appear to find it interesting and/or who actually ask how it is going or anything else about it. And so, as with many of the activities I pursue in my life, I don't really think what I'm doing is in anyway interesting or important. Sadly, because I base that on how other friends and acquaintances seem to have little interest.
I do get a bit of affirmation from the moms of my students. Moms who thank me for "what I do", moms who say their daughters love me. But today, I really received the best compliment(s) outside of the moms (who really are the most important people to please - as they are the voices for their preschool age daughters). One of the other teachers who works at the studio was there before my class this morning, working on her choreography. She started to leave when my class began and then after it had started she asked if she could observe. Her observe me? Why not, I had nothing to hide. But she is older than me, has more experience than I, works more hours than I. After the class I noticed she'd taken a whole page of notes. (!) Then she started to ask questions about my "methods and philosophies" which I guess I do have but never really labeled them like that. Its just what I do and why I do it (which I suppose are my "methods and philosophies"). She liked what she saw. She complimented me. When I told her I'd just started teaching this age last fall, she was shocked. What? I was flattered.
This all just made me stop and think. What I do as far as teaching dance is important. How I do it has now been admired by a colleague. She admires how I insist on children learning not just to dance, but to have self control in the midst of a very physical activity and how I seem to effectively get that across to them. How I try to pack in as much as I can the best way I feel children that age can learn about proper dance and body movement as well as a foundation of the basics. Just in case they decide to pursue dance even further.
Much of what I teach is what I was taught by my teachers and by my parents. I hope to pass along all of this wonderfulness to another generation at the very least for them to keep in their "toolboxes" as they go through life and more specifically if they decide to pursue dance in any way shape or form.
In a nutshell, when you teach dance, especially to 3-4 year olds. You are teaching so much more than dance. You are giving them tools they can use their whole lifetime. Tools they may or may not be getting elsewhere. I am living proof of that as I know are so many others.
So no longer do I care if friends or anyone else thinks that teaching little kids to dance is not that interesting or exciting. They have not seen me teach. They do not know what goes into it. But I do, and the important people, who also do, respect me for that.
One of the gifts I have is that I see potential in each child through young adult I have the priveledge to work with. In each and every one of my dance students I see the potential for them to be this... I really do.