January 2016 | On My Mind

Words from the publisher

It’s a new year, and I’ll bet you have some sort of self-improvement goals for 2016. If one of them is to become a better teacher, try this: imagine that each time you enter your school you are walking in the stage door, prepared to give the best performance possible.

Photo by Mim Adkins

Photo by Mim Adkins

Think about it: if you were told that you had to perform tomorrow, you’d probably be up all night perfecting your choreography—and, for sure, you would hit the stage with complete professionalism, no matter what. The audience would have no idea that you were exhausted from your all-nighter, and most of them would think that you’re a very happy person.

Many of the most successful teachers and school owners I run into are appreciative and positive people. They are thankful for the opportunities that come their way, and their clientele can feel it, just like an audience can feel what comes from a dancer who gives a passionate performance. These teachers, when asked how they are, don’t respond with a long list of negative stuff; instead they emphasize the positivity of dance. They’re setting an example of how cool it is to have dance in their lives.

These teachers share their soul in every class, inspiring their students to do the same and to work hard to achieve. They encourage all students, knowing that each child can experience the joy that dance brings regardless of how many classes are taken. The teachers’ positive attitudes make the dance studio—and the experience of dance itself—a happy place for the students, and that creates loyalty. And that loyalty turns into success for the school.

Some teachers say that they have personal or financial problems that prevent them from being “onstage” at the school. I understand that. But put them onstage and these teachers would never let the audience know that such problems existed.

If you see your classroom as your stage, you too can give the best performance every time. That’s right—“It’s all show business, kid!”

DSL publisher Rhee Gold has owned a dance competition, presided over national dance teaching organizations, and founded Project Motivate. His book, The Complete Guide to Teaching Dance, is in its second printing.