When it comes to teacher evaluations, dance studio owners could benefit from adopting some common practices in the business world. Teacher evaluations benefit employees and studios alike, providing a system for reflection, assessment, goal setting, and decisions about compensation.
In the business world, where many people work full time for one employer, typically there is a formal process for evaluations, reviews, and pay increases, usually on a yearly basis. But in dance studios, many owners hire part-time teachers (either as employees or independent contractors) and have no formal system of evaluation or raises. Formal evaluations and systematic pay increases can be difficult to implement in schools where staff turnover is frequent.
In exploring the topic of evaluations and pay increases, we surveyed 100 dance teachers at studios in 22 states. Their feedback is synthesized here to offer suggestions for best practices when hiring and evaluating teachers.
When Danelle Watson speaks about the dance academy she took over six years ago, it’s as if she’s talking about paradise. And it’s not only because Alexander Academy of Performing Arts is located in what very nearly could be called paradise: the non-touristy northwest section of the Hawaiian island Maui. Snow days? Not a chance. Ice storms? Unheard of. Near epidemic bouts of winter flu? Not so much.
OK, so you own a dance studio. For your classes you use recordings or have a pianist playing various musical scores. Some of those songwriters or composers might include, say, Stevie Wonder, Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, John Lennon, Beyoncé, Neil Diamond, or Gloria Estefan. And artists like these have written some of the millions of song titles and compositions from the last century, including such diverse genres as Broadway show tunes, R&B, rap, rock, hip-hop, classical, Latin, New Age, country, gospel, Christian, and pop. And during the school year, chances are you have recitals and performances that utilize these musical selections.