What Makes A Good Teacher?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by SDsalsaguy, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    People learn at different rates. I like teachers who can be patient when it's obvious that the student is trying and putting in the effort, but isn't making expected progress (this can happen for any number of reasons). I do not like laziness generally, and I generally am impatient with people who are wasting my time by not trying.
  2. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Loves their students? No, I don't agree.
    A sense of responsibility to their students, yes.
    dbk and Larinda McRaven like this.
  3. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Ditto. I have a lot of patience for beginners. I have no patience for someone who doesn't listen, doesn't give my suggestions a good honest try, and who completely forgets everything between lessons because they didn't even think about it, let alone practice. I also have little patience for people who go to the intermediate class when they never grasped the concepts in the beginning class. I'm going to hit the post button now before my mouth gets me in trouble...
  4. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yeah...that was an odd choice of words. I don't love my students. I genuinely like a lot of them. Others I tolerate and put on a good face for. I do have a passion for teaching and helping people meet their goals.
  5. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    agree, one has to love teaching...one does not have to love their student...but I expect my pro to respect me or to be able to fake it exceedingly well...as to patience; what I meant by a reasonable amount was just that...if I am practicing and improving and doing my best to grasp a concept, my expectation is that my pro will try to have some empathy for that...I don't expect anyone to have alot of patience for people who say they come to learn but clearly have no interest in doing anything which that entails (there are alot of folks with some very lax ideas regarding what constitutes practice, and whose pro's have never taught them how to practice)....backe to patience; fortunately, in my case, when patience is running dry there is usually lots of warning and, even so, the impatience is usually about pushing my progress and not about some sort of personal disdain...because I take so many lessons back to back, we sort of know when one or the other of us is sort of done with the other...and we know how to navigate it :) and how to push through it....mostly because we are both pretty good at knowing when it is time to shut up
    twnkltoz likes this.
  6. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I first realized the truth of this back when I was training astronauts. There were huge changes that I sometimes had to make from one to the next, even to the point that I prepared some different materials for some of them. Two examples: Wendy Lawrence was very much a by-the-book learner; she was careful to go through the material in order and she kept immaculate notes. David Wolf, on the other hand, was very much a tactile learn-by-doing guy; he almost seemed to absorb knowledge through his fingertips.

    There's a Latin/Rhythm instructor here who used to compete as a junior before he blew out his knee; he can still burn holes in the floor, and he's an excellent teacher. But I know from past experience that his teaching style and my learning style just don't mesh. It isn't anything he is doing wrong; I can't exactly explain the problem, but I always used to leave his lessons feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. So I don't take lessons from him anymore. But I still recommend him to other students, because I know that my experience with him was not typical.
  7. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member


    Was this when you were new to dancing?
  8. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Not new exactly; I was dancing intermediate to full bronze, but I wasn't where I am now (intermediate silver).
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yeah...there used to be a guy here who was great at teaching leaders, but all the women grew to hate taking lessons from him. He's a wonderful man and friend, though, and I love him dearly. I just can't take lessons from him.
  10. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I think at different stages of our dance maturity we can appreciate different qualities that different teachers bring to the table. Some teachers are really good for beginner students but not detailed enough for advanced, some teachers are overwhelming for beginner students but are perfect once you get to a more advanced stage....and then there are the teachers who can teach all levels effectively!
    Gorme and LordBallroom like this.
  11. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Adapting teaching style is a big part of that, regardless of level. A very verbal/speaking-oriented teacher is horribly ineffective with me (driving me nuts with my new boss, who can't explain something without taking over and doing it, which means I end up not learning anything.)
  12. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    Like Debmc said, some of the more advanced teachers struggle with teaching beginning students. While you may have been in an intermediate to full bronze program, most of the students I've seen in such programs weren't even close to being bronze level dancers in terms of technique. They were basically beginner level dancers with more advanced foot patterns.
  13. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    if that were predominantly true, no advanced teacher would ever have had a student that started with him...
  14. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    Please bear in mind, if teachers don't keep students happy, they soon won't have students. Picking some abstract levels, if teachers insists that students may not learn level 2 figures until they have mastered level 1 technique, well, given the vast majority of dancers I have seen, there's a lot of students that will get bored or frustrated or both, and either stop dancing, or find another teacher that will give them what they want (more figures). I've seen what happens when the teacher keeps reviewing one figure until her students "get it" to her satisfaction...

    Not to say that I approve of that situation, but that's how people are.
  15. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I don't think it is predominantly true but it's not uncommon either
  16. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I travel and compete all over the US...most good pros can teach anyone....and many have brought students up from pre-bronze to open....and placing in finals at major events ...including, but not limited to my own....many many of them....I am not sure what you have been exposed to but it sounds like a rather sad little corner of the world
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  17. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I don't know just how small or big or it is but it is definately sad
  18. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    as I said, if you want to get the bigger picture, go to Columbus....if you are really serious, you ought to anyhow
    danceronice likes this.
  19. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    And you know this how? Based on the teachers at your studio? Or are you just guessing?
  20. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    My concern is that since the Ohio Star Ball is so prestigious that it won't give me an accurate snapshot of what the industry looks like. This is the elite of the elite to my knowledge. I have no doubt there is a student somewhere that's getting the instruction they paid for. I'm trying to get a clearer idea of the state of the industry on a more general scale.

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