Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SDsalsaguy, Apr 10, 2003.
Top dance pros? Name one please...
Do you have any idea how much bs students/customers have to listen to from salespeople? Many salespeople just like to hear themselves talk. And they're not as profound as they think they are.
I don't bs people who are trying to sell me stuff - I give straight-up feedback, which I admit has earned me somewhat of a reputation for being abrasive - and interestingly, I don't get nearly as many annoying sales pitches as I used to because we're all on straight terms with each other. And if I'm happy, you get a sale.
Related to the topic of what makes a good teacher - a teacher who *listens* to my concerns/needs/goals, and does not try to sell me on every possible event/lesson/etc under the sun or lecture me about the benefits of dance, but tailors the information they provide me to the goals/desires I have expressed so that we are working as a team to accomplish them.
Well I don't think he necessarily has to name them. He is trying to be anonymous after all, unless he really wants to name his school and the top pros there.... but I don't think we have to push it. It is a moot point.
Unfortunately that is the whole problem with anonymous internet... anyone can proclaim anything they want, because they are behind a screen.
In any case none of that discussion has anything to do with the OP of the thread.... What makes a good teacher.
Larinda, I agree. I also stated one of the qualities, I think that makes a good teacher is that the teachers I take from allow us to e-mail them at their studio e-mail address. Then the teacher can decide if he or she wants to e-mail us back their responses from the studio e-mail address or from their home email address. They have told us to do that if we have a question we did not get a chance to ask during the class, or if we forgot how to do a pattern. Fascination stated she wondered if that was a good idea, and what pro's thought about that. After, thinking about what she said, I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding teachers corresponding by e-mail with their students regarding dance related questions? I would also add that I live near Johns Hopkins, and some of my doctors are there. I note that some of those doctors though not the majority have their office e-mail address on the Johns Hopkins website, and the patients can correspond with them through e-mail.
Humility is one characteristic of a good teacher...
My instructor has a fairly similar policy, where she's explicitly told me to feel free to text her if I have questions during the week. I try *really* hard to not abuse it. (As in, I think I've done it once ever. A local instructor corrected me doing an exercise that she'd wanted me to work on. Said correction seemed to be diametrically opposed to what she'd told me, and I wanted to make sure I hadn't misunderstood her.)
I don't necessarily think it's a hallmark of a good instructor though, at least not directly. I'd say it's more one of a generous instructor. Time is money, and I consider their time to be valuable. I wouldn't count it as a mark against an instructor if they preferred to wait for lessons to answer questions.
I'm still learning about the ballroom world as well as the language used. When I say "top dance pros" I didn't mean to imply that these are nationally known pros or people like Larinda who travel the country coaching. I just meant to say that these are people who have enough accolades to prove that they have mastered the advanced curriculum. My point was that the vast majority of students seem to never even get close to the point of having to need such knowledge.
I understand your 'walking back' your comment; did you mean top dance pros in your studio, then? What curriculum?
My point is simply that they know how to dance well and that they've proved it in competitive competition.
I too am wondering what "advanced curriculum" you are talking about? I know that there are a number of different curriculum's-ISTD, Dance Vision etc. Which "advanced curriculum" are you referencing?
What competitions, then? And what technique? Remember, all the folks on this forum are REALLY into dance and are very happy to support their fellow dancers, and applaud them in their successes.
You are not going to get a sympathetic hearing on this forum for how much more valuable good salesmen are than good dancers.
I'm not sure if it's a language thing or what. "Accolades"? Did they win open level events in independent comps? Or did they get an "attaboy" at a franchise-only comp?
Ballroom dance is a field that has only one credential to authenticate one's dance skill, and that is winning comps. The various teaching certifications prove that one has passed a test on particular dance syllabi.
Does a beginner need to learn from a Blackpool Finalist? Probably not. But a beginner is not going to be able to distinguish the quality of a teacher by just looking. Credentials, whether from winning comps, being qualified to judge comps, or teaching certifications give some assurance.
Who really cares? They're not my trophies. I've just tried to surround myself with successful people so that I can learn from them. I'm not the guy taking students all over the country to competitions, but I'd like to be. I'm not the guy that attracts students because of my awards, I'd like to be. I have a niche in the business but that's really about it.
This is moving in the right direction, if you'd like to have a conversation with folks in this forum, rather than an argument.
BOT, and in light of some of the exchanges here, and I'm sure it's been said before, a good teacher listens. And that means not just to what the student says, but what their body language and their facial expressions say.
if you want to be a teacher with competitive students, as per the most recent post, then you are going to have to be a good ballroom dancer and a good teacher....as an aside, the reason that people are asking so many questions is that there are ways to win at certain comps and come home with trophies, that mean virtually nothing...all comps are not created equally so you can't just toss around the notion that they are truly top notch unless you actually know what constitutes top notch...some of the least talented pros that I know are the best at "painting the pig" and making themselves sound like the second coming...also, as to the notion of not needing to be terribly good to teach, that may be true for a while, but then you will be the guy who loses his students once they have tapped your skill set...because, trust me on this, lots of students outgrow and progress beyond their instructor when the instructor is one who has little personal instruction themselves...spend time investing in your dancing not in having a spiel
For me, the most important aspects of what makes a good (for me) teacher is that they have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of ballroom dancing and a desire, willingness and ability to focus on those fundamentals in their lessons. In my admittedly relatively limited experience, there's actually been a fairly strong correlation between that and how accomplished the instructor has been.
I mean, let me be as honest as I can be. I'm a fairly high-end bronze student, lower-end silver student. That means that in absolute terms, I'm really not all that great of a dancer. I take my pro-am lessons from an Ohio Star Ball rising star finalist. Is that overkill? Perhaps. But I feel like I learn more from her than I ever did from the adult pre-champ level dancer I take my am-am lessons with. And it's NOT because of anything fancy that my pro-am instructor is teaching me. She was actually really insistent as recently as last January that I stick with bronze. (Which I strongly approved of, and which made her excitement in June when I brought up the possibility of starting me on silver all the more satisfying.)
ETA: That's not intended as a critcism of my am-am instructor. He's quite good for what he is and always encourages his students to take lessons with more accomplished dancers when they have the opportunity to do so. I consider myself very fortunate to be able to take lessons with my pro-am instructor.
Irony, anyone? Let's see...I know a little bit about food because I eat it, so I think I'll go on a chef forum and tell them how to do their jobs.
As a person who does teach a lot of beginners, in my opinion a good teacher is one who:
1. Knows the subject matter well and is able to convey it to any type of learner
2. Produces dancers who are successful according to the student's goals (winning competitions, a comfortable and skilled social dancer, etc.)
3. Teaches because they are passionate about dance and teaching, not because they want to get rich.
I teach social dancers and wedding couples. A lot of them. How do I gauge my success? When I see my students at the dance on Saturday night, having a ball, and people regularly seek them out as partners....that's success to me. When my wedding couple sends me a thank you letter, telling me the dance went well and they were so happy with it...that's success to me. When a student tells me they've been trying to learn a concept or pattern for a long time from different teachers, and I finally got through to them and they learned, that's a huge success. There are many ways to gauge success as a dance instructor.
When a student can't re-up her package because of finances, but she gives me thank you gifts and continues dancing and greets me with enthusiasm every time she sees me, I don't feel I've failed by not talking her into buying more lessons than she can afford. It's just not about the numbers for me. Currently, I'm teaching as many hours as I really want to, although admittedly I teach part time. I suppose I could bolster my sales skills and get more hours for myself if I really wanted to, but it's just not in my nature so I'm not gonna. I'd rather focus my efforts on being an even better dancer and teacher.
As for email...I do invite my students to text or email with questions. They almost never do, but they like the gesture. If it's a simple question, I'm happy to answer because they will get better quality practice. If it's a long, involved question/answer, I might give them a quick answer but then tell them we need to cover that in a lesson.
Separate names with a comma.