Ballroom Dance > What Makes A Good Teacher?

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

  1. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

  2. Bella

    Bella New Member

    Another thing I thought about... A teacher who goes out of their way to help you. I had a coach who took me to the mall to help me find a dress for a showcase. This was my first showcase ever and I didn't have a costume made at the time. I have a teacher now who offered to pick up ray rose latin shoes at Worldtone in NY for me. Of course, I told him not to be silly and I'll just get it mailed to me.

    I guess I've gotten lucky having sweethearts as teachers :)
  3. dancelvr

    dancelvr Well-Known Member

    My teacher to a "T". Add to that, the ability to take a joke. :)
  4. Bella

    Bella New Member

    Yes, someone who's silly and fun! Mostly, because I'm pretty silly. My pro started rapping (with his russian accent), so naturally I started busting out hip hop moves!
    Hilarious! :banana:
  5. Brush Tap

    Brush Tap New Member

    My two cents.... a good teacher....

    1. Can assess and adjust how hard to push and challenge a student to get the best out of him/her
    2. Focuses on technique and demands excellence (nicely)
    3. Dances full out with the student at all times (not for the first time on the competition floor, so the student isn't completely shocked and thrown off)
    4. Can explain things many different ways until he/she finds one that resonates with the student
    5. Is challenging and tough but kind and positive- doesn't berate the student or get annoyed or imply that the student is stupid if a particular explanation doesn't make sense
    6. Inspires a student to improve and empowers the student to do so
  6. dreamdancer1103

    dreamdancer1103 New Member

    I'm thinking there are 3 things that make a "good teacher":

    1) Patience.
    2) Patience.
    3) Patience.

    Not necessarily in that order.;)
  7. barrefly

    barrefly New Member

    Teaching is a skill and art, just like dancing. I would assume/hope that there is instruction available to teach how to teach. My young daughter just started teaching some kids classes. Though I am no expert, I am trying to teach her to pay attention to each student and correct them in an orderly and efficient manner. To be clear and concise and to break things down to it's elements, yet, to still keep the elements part of the whole. Structuring the class instruction, as well as keeping it fun yet disciplined.

    I am all she, I hope I am helping her more than not.
  8. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Welcome to DF dreamdancer1103!
  9. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    a good teacher is gentle when reviewing your comp video ;)
  10. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    MY Teacher! MINE! Am I lucky or what?

    You can't imagine what a mitzvah it is for a beginner to luck into a teacher like the one described above, a "teacher's teacher," especially since I used to teach (college/university academic, not dance), so I understand deeply the dynamic of the student/teacher event. I thank my lucky stars every single day for walking into that studio door and finding him. Now, if I could just benefit 100% from what he has to offer. Well, that will come. I'm a beginner (and a newbie on DF) so There's Time. As the following post said, Patience. Patience. Patience.
  11. dancepro

    dancepro Member

    Welcome to DF j_alexandra. I am glad to hear that you found a great teacher straight away. Don't worry about getting this dancing stuff. You have a great teacher you will get it. When you do have questions or comments feel free to post them here on DF. All the best.

  12. latingal

    latingal Well-Known Member

    Yes, welcome to DF j_alexandra! I hope we'll see you more around the boards!
  13. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the welcome, dancepro and latingal. I've been lurking here for a while, but this thread, the quantal shift thread, the "why" thread, and the right-brain thread got me all fired up. It's all in the timing, isn't it? This past two weeks, my lessons have been the kind where the right brain lets the quantum leaps happen, and my "why" questions get answered in ways I'm finally ready to accept. And here is DF, addressing the same issues. Thanks!
  14. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    Inspire their students, encourage them and push them to their limits to dance their best
  15. Cheery

    Cheery Member

    I'm in the same situation. I've only taken group classes from a 2nd teacher a couple of times. My Private Teacher is encouraging me to take group lessons also from him--which is ok since he teaches another dance in the group, not covered in the Privates.

    In the Group Lessons he obviously has no time to nitpick and correct individuals. Which is why of course, the obvious price difference between private and group lessons.

    I found from observing that certain dancers who have been dancing for even a year or more look do look "that advanced," for whatever reason--could it be because they are always "dancing down" with lower level dancers in that same group class? I don't even know what they are doing there anyway if the level is too low for them (in my studio anyone can go to any level class, for the most part).

    I still want to experience other teaching styles. Sometimes when I ask my teacher questions he does not really answer them in depth, he sort of tries to justify his teaching style. It's ok as we are still moving forward every lesson and I think maybe I should just shut up as the meter is ticking, we should be dancing, not talking!

    It is hard to even talk to him outside of class because he is so booked up that when I arrive he is ending a lesson and when I finish he is starting another. So I have to talk to him about my lessons and progress, during the actual lesson! (tick, tick...)

    Anyway I am in group lessons with this same teacher now and it's good in the sense that we can polish stuff I didn't get too well in group in the Privates, and also, he gets my feedback about how the whole lesson went.

    He can also see everything I do in every dance and can then tell me what to incorporate from one dance into another
  16. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Your teacher is teaching a group of people in the group class, and his saying 'good' is accurate to the SITUATION. it is good enough for a group class, on that day, with the students in the class, and he is judging how they are responding to his teaching on that day. In your private, what you are doing is good enough for your level - you do know that in another year or so if you danced a movement they way you do now, it will not be considered 'good'?

    Dance quality is measured in reference to your progress and not to an absolute; for instance, a bronze level movement danced by a higher level dancer might be almost unrecognizable to you in terms of shape, speed, and other qualities. Also, expertise and muscle/body control evolve over time, and certainly your movement will look and feel much different even weeks from now.

    Yes, your teacher is encouraging students by saying 'good', but in this world, most folks do not respond as well to criticism as they do to praise. Also, after dancing only 5/6 months, you are still quite a beginner in dance, and you will eventually look back at your first 5 or 6 YEARS as your beginner years... enjoy the ride, and don't be harsh on yourself or your teacher or your fellow students. You may find that they surpass you unexpectedly as they grasp a principle..
  17. Bailamosdance

    Bailamosdance Well-Known Member

    Oh, and to be fair, you should expect that your private lesson is where your teacher talks to you - that is what you pay for. Free lessons are very rare and honestly, it is quite an imposition on a teacher to be cornered for free advice etc. Imagine how you'd feel if you were constantly besieged on your free time to teach 'just a few minutes' here and there, with a population of 20 or 30 students!

    For you, dance is a passion, hobby, and pleasure; to a teacher, it is among other things, a way to make $$$s. DO NOT expect everyone or anyone to share your particular visions - after all, two people do not order the same dinner at a restaurant, due to personal taste, so why would he or she see what you see? Don't think that if a teacher avoids you after being pursued to give out free commentary they are being anything but professional - and you need to respect that.
  18. millitiz

    millitiz Member

    New to this forum, but am really excited about all the discussions!
    I think that a good instructor need to be really energetic: and it requires certain type of personalities.
    So our coaches come up from Chicago and teach private lessons and group lessons for whole day (well, not really, it is more like 12, 13 hours) + 2 hours of drive each way. I found it really amazing that they could still be as energetic, humorous, patient at the end of the day as they were at the beginning of the day. I mean I could certainly imagine me myself to be in a nasty mood after a day of work, and am really tired.

    As for the patient part, and "friendly" part, well, we have a coach that like to scream at the students, and I know some of my fellow teammates are intimidated by him, but my DP love him to be screaming at her, and she learned a lot in those lessons. So I guess it really depends on individuals.

    I am not sure if people notice this, but there are several different school of thoughts of dancing (and I think that there are two main schools of thoughts): they do different things for the same step: most of them are details, but nonetheless. For instance, one of our coaches prefer to have our front foot pointing toward the line during the Rumba walk, and said that the dynamics of the walks mainly comes from opening the hips. Where as the same thing got screamed by another coach of ours, which he insisted on having the front foot pointing outward (the normal latin way of standing). So sometimes having different lessons with different coaches might lead to confusions. Although I do agree that it would be nice to be exposed to different type of philosophy of dancing.
  19. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Welcome to DF, millitiz.

    And great post, can recognize the different schools of thoughts, different coaching methods, etc. And can think of a coach that uses each one. :) Good descriptions.
  20. MultiFaceted Dancer

    MultiFaceted Dancer Active Member

    General Response
    Some teachers are in it for a Job-A way to make Money (We all need Money But...) The really Good Teachers,Instructors, Coaches are in it for the Career.To share thier knowledge for others to become better Dancers.Those instructors are passionate regarding thier craft and they want to pass on what they have learned to the students regardles of how much money has exchanged hands. Not Everyone can afford to take a million dollars worth of lesons but are willing to work hard and willing to do what they can.We as Dancers are the Reflections of thier teachings.Teachers of this caliber are easy to spot because they are always wanting to help and are willing to give bits and pieces to thier students even in a group class to make them better students. A student needs to to do thier part by practicing whats been giving to them which in turns thanks the instructor for the extra help. So if someone asks us where we took our lessons (be it group or private) and we answer who we took them from-- that particular dancer asked because either we look good as a dancer and they want to take lessons from that person or we look bad and they don't want to take lessons from that person. We are actually- as students- thier walking advertisement in a sense- so in essence they help us- we help them. My way of thinking-- That is How everyone should be in Life in General Helping each other- Learning from each other. The Defensiveness needs to go away as well as any Snobbery. Coaches World Champions that I have met have all been Down to Earth wonderful people willing to share for all to learn -No Defensiveness or snobbery on thier part - why should there be. Good Teachers are comfortable in what they know and Understand that other perspectives from other teachers are good for the student as well.
    Just My Thoughts on the Subject

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