I began dancing at the age of four when my mom signed me up for a ballet class. Since then, it has been a long journey filled with makeup, hairspray and an excessive amount of bobby pins. It is typical for most girls to stop dancing once they graduate high school; so at this age I consider myself lucky, because my journey with dance is not over yet.
About two years ago, I was performing in my Dance Troupe's annual recital when a woman approached me, and asked if I would be interested in teaching at her studio. I was flattered and a little shocked, but I thought this opportunity would be perfect for me. I haven't been teaching for long, but here are some of the reasons why I absolutely love being a dance teacher.
1. I get to create.
The most rewarding part of being a dance teacher is seeing my visions come to life, after spending countless hours choreographing to perfection.
2. I learn from my students.
My students are anywhere between 11 and 16 years old, so they are not that much younger than me. When I am struggling with a formation change or choreography, I know I can always count on my students to say: Hey Miss. Steph, what if we do this instead? It's no surprise to me anymore when their ideas work out better than mine.
3. I get to tell a story.
This is easily my favorite aspect of dance, for storytelling can be executed through any style.
4. I get to give back.
The studio I teach at has an annual holiday showcase. At this show my boss–the Artistic Director of the studio–donates the proceeds to a charity of her choice. This past winter, we benefited the Helen O. Krause Animal Shelter in Dillsburg.
5. I get to be a part of a family.
The studio I teach at is rather small, but this aspect makes the studio truly feel like a family.
6. I have freedom.
I would consider my job one that offers me a great amount of freedom and flexibility. As the teacher, I get to choose the song, costumes and choreography. I am able to run a class, based on my own curriculum and rules, for an hour each week. My boss has never once rejected my ideas or been discouraging.
7. My students support me.
I am an active member of my college's dance team, and my students come to every performance to support me. It makes me feel good knowing that these girls look up to me, and I do my best to be a positive role model for them.
8. I get to spread knowledge.
I have learned that teaching is a cycle. I am just reiterating to my students the knowledge that I have learned from all of my previous dance teachers. It is rewarding when I can teach the girls how to perform outside of their comfort zone.
9. I understand how my dance teachers felt.
When I have a student who chews gum in class, gets down on herself or misses class for other commitments, I can't help but to think to myself: Ohhh, so this is how they must have felt!
10. I get to give opportunities.
It wasn't that long ago when I was a teenager myself, so I know confidence levels can fluctuate at their age. I do everything I can to give opportunities that build their self-confidence.
11. I have the coolest job.
I look forward going to work every week. I truly believe being a dance instructor is one of the coolest jobs I have ever had.
After I end class and pack up my dance bag, I can't help but to appreciate the value of being a teacher. I love inspiring and encouraging young dancers. It has been an incredible and enjoyable experience thus far.
"Our studio is a place where your child can flourish and develop a love for dance as well as building self-confidence and self-esteem." ~ The Spirit of Dance Studio.