Forum: Irish / Irish - Champs

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re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By everdancingmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4095, member since Fri Feb 01, 2002
On Sat Aug 06, 2005 12:02 PM
Thanks so much! I usually start really slow too, I guess they just need to practice at home more! (I've got some really lazy kids... sigh...). Poor you, having to teach hardshoe to 5 year olds! Luckily our 5 year olds don't do hardshoe, my teacher won't start them on it until they have some concept of proper technique in soft shoe, and our 5 year olds definitely aren't there yet, haha. I can't even imagine what they would do with a pair of hardshoes... eek. lol :?

*Heather*
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By shenaniganmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 162, member since Sun Jul 17, 2005
On Tue Aug 09, 2005 08:06 PM
This is such an important post! If I could give Karma, I would! I've been teaching in the 3-9 age group for 2 years now and there are a few things I've learned.
1. no matter how many times you have to go over the basics with a dancer, always congratulate them when they do the movement even close to right. I think it helps them realize what is right.
2. Try to break it up a bit in class. Like at the end of my beginner class, where the oldest dancer is 6, we play a game like Meg says (Simon says) where we practice our basic moves, but its more relaxed and fun, or duck duck goose but with 123's instead of just skipping.
3. When it comes to beginners under 5 or 6, always dance up to the more apt dancers. Separate those who are getting it from those who don't. I know that someone mentioned this before, but we were able to have first years competing in both reel and jig and getting their slip Jig, because we made sure that they weren't bored. It wasn't that they were getting more attention than the others, because we had two of us teaching. We just made sure to challenge them and keep them working.
Other than that, have fun...the kids are. And they do love you. I get cards and things at Christmas and year end from my kids, and when I see them outside dance, they run up and hug me like a sister or a parent. And that joy you feel when they realize their accomplishments in a feis or a show is wonderful! Makes it all worth it!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By idkb1026 Comments: 24, member since Tue Jul 12, 2005
On Wed Sep 07, 2005 01:54 PM
this is such an amazing post. thanks to all of you for sharing your advise.
i just got a job teaching at my studio this year, i'm running two classes now, young beginners (4-6 year olds) and an prizewinner/young champ. class (7-9 year olds). i was a bit nervous about what to do and how to act, but your posts really gave me some great starting points and warned me what not to do.
thanks again!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By jimmysonfire Comments: 8, member since Sun Aug 28, 2005
On Thu Sep 08, 2005 06:45 PM
intresting stuff! dunno about irish dancin n all but v intresting never the less! :)
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By reeldancer87 Comments: 138, member since Fri Oct 08, 2004
On Fri Sep 23, 2005 12:33 AM
Great post :) I assistant teach as well, although it is usually at the same time as my teacher. Sometimes if she's going to be late to class or she can't take a class, then she'll get me to do it, but otherwise I don't usually do it alone.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By irish_alpaca Comments: 246, member since Sat Jan 15, 2005
On Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:42 PM
Great post!! I have another tip: If your teacher isn't there, you can't always do everything like them. Everyone has their own style. Some kids might start saying "this isn't how *insert TC's name* does, it we do THIS" and so on. You have to realize that kids like routine, but you also have to remind them that while TC is out, YOU are the teacher. It's your class, and the exercises might be different, but variety is good for them! It also allows you to not try and "live up" to the way the TC teaches by doing <i>everything</i> the same way!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By dncnduckie17 Comments: 36, member since Tue Aug 24, 2004
On Sat Oct 22, 2005 11:16 AM
Awesome post!

This is my first year assiting, and these tips are sure to help me out! Thank you!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By anthrogirl Comments: 29, member since Wed May 30, 2007
On Fri Jun 01, 2007 01:01 PM
I've been assisting for about five years now, and for the past year I have been going solo for several classes. It was a little intmidating at first, going solo, and not team teaching. But I found that I absolutely love it! I try to teach just like my TCRG, so there is consistancy, just like you mentioned. I always run everything by my teacher, and tell all the parents that they need to run everything by her (the tcrg) as well. I will give my opinion on something (a dress, shoes, dances, etc) but I ALWAYS tell them, check with "--" first. I enjoyed reading your advice column. It does get frustrating teaching sometimes and it was nice to hear that other assistants out there also enjoy teaching and get frustrated too!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By irishdaydreamermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1538, member since Tue Jul 10, 2007
On Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:05 PM
Thanks for that great post!! I have to help teach classes when my teacher is no leave. It is so great when I parents coming up to me to tell me "what a good teacher you are", and "thank you". It always makes my day.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By danceNcheerMom Comments: 6, member since Sun Sep 23, 2007
On Sun Sep 30, 2007 05:40 PM
My oldest daughter has taught for 2 years and has been a demonstrator for about 5 yrs. She taught all ages, but her favorite classes were the 4-5 yr olds. The studio owner has so many requests for her that she began sitting in on the classes. To get the little ones to remember right from left, each class she placed danced stickers on all the right hands and right feet of the kids! She would also bring her digital camera and print out pictures of the kids in the various dance positions and moves. She would make a take home book of these for each student. Mom's loved the keepsakes and the kids could practice with these at home.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By CyndilouwhoCO Comments: 108, member since Mon Aug 01, 2005
On Sun Oct 21, 2007 10:41 PM
Great topic all! Whenever I get frustrated in a teaching situation, I remember something that my TCRG said to me... to always "remember just how much these kids look up to you".

As the champions/assistant instructors, we do live in the limelight of the school. Little things like encouragement, paying attention to every student in the class, and offering consistent feedback can have a hugely positive impact on dancers of all ages. In reverse, crankiness, visible frustration, and favoritism can also impact strongly.

We as champions need to choose to act in a way that deserves the admiration that our students give us just because of the level of dance our hard work has earned us. In my classes, I strive to push physical/psychological boundaries and am fairly strict, but at the same time, offer a lot of fun, encouragement, and laughter.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By LuvTheDance Comments: 63, member since Mon Oct 22, 2007
On Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:31 PM
I say...
1: Tell them if they finish all they are doing they can play a game... it will help them move cooperatly*
2: Make sure they are having fun and give maybe 1 minutes breaks occanionally
3: Sometimes like the last week before Christmas... throw a small party or something... if you'd like to stick to Irish dance then do a fun ceili or something fun
4: Don't teach to many things in one class but don't only teach 1 thing because they will easily get bored
5: Ask them every week if they practiced because if they did they will love to tell you how much but if they didn't, they will want to next week to show off.
6: Have fun or look like your having fun because it will make them enjoy themselves
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By TaraYeah Comments: 16, member since Wed Aug 01, 2007
On Wed Nov 07, 2007 02:22 PM
WOW! thanks so much. i teach a class for children that are between 3 and 5 and it gets hard. i also give private lessons on occasion so this helps alot!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By seanmharcailinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1978, member since Fri Dec 10, 2004
On Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:09 AM
I can't believe this topic has been so helpful to so many people! I wrote it when I was 19 and i'm now 22!!! The years have gone by so fast, and I still stand by what I wrote. My only change is that I've discovered my own routine for classes and now kids expect a different workout from me. They know they'll drill steps with our TC, and then when I'm in class I do almost NO full steps at all. I've found that I can spend an entire 2 hour class on basics and drills and strength training. I guess my latest piece of advice would be to trust yourself, and learn how to do things the best way you can. I still think that new assistants NEED to be consistant with what their TCRG is doing- start class with the same basic drills, keep about the same pace, don't flip the class on its head. But once you've been helping for as long as I have and you're training for your TCRG really focus on what you want to work on, and always communicate with your TC about what you're working on in classes.

Keep adding to and reading the post! its been an inspiration to me, even though I started it years ago! ^_^
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By irishgirl93 Comments: 423, member since Fri Jun 23, 2006
On Sat Nov 24, 2007 11:11 AM
wow! this is awsome! i am a studen teacher (well assistant, but teach my own part of class) and i have also been taught by student teachers. i have had some awful experiences with my student teachers beacuse i am the youngest dancer in our advanced class. everything i did, wether it be dance related or not i was criticized by some of the other girls, so i know how awful thing like that can be. i also have had some great experiences with student teachers where they really help me fix something or whatever, so i know both ends of that stick!

when i teach, it is usually the begginer class that consists of girls ages 5-adult, so that's a little tricky. you have to learn how to speak to one group of people, the young ones for instance, with athority, but kindness, an dthe adults with sorrections but respect. my other big problem is attention, and i do make jokes, and talk to the kids during break, and i try to keep the class going, but it's hard. my new strategy is to dance with them. i understand that some are a little younger and are getting tired, but the whole calss is only 45 minutes, and i have seen them all work hard before, so here's what i've learned to do.

i dance EVERYTHING with them when i'm teaching it, and if someone starts to not pay attention or goof off, i first try to nudge them to try this little thing one more time, and then move on, then when it gets really bad, i give them all a break and ask them to take a sip and then we will start again. before i go into the next step i tell them "i know it's saturday morning, and it's early, but i got out of bed to come teach because i love to teach you guys, so i hope you can get out of bed and come dance because you love to dance." i then tell them "i am up here working hard, i am dancing everything that you are, and i am sayig the entire thing. if i'm going to work hard for you i expect you to work hard for me." usually this will do the trick, but if it doens't i will pull aside the ones that are getting really bad (usually the same girl) and tell them that they need to get it together for the remainder of the class or sit down and wait, because i'm not going to hold the rest of the class back because they are not paying atteniton. usually if this happens the parents will also know, but it's rare, so whatever. but ya, that's my strategy, and it works pretty well!!
thanks for all the other good tips!!
xoxo
kayla
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By dancingthrulife1 Comments: 428, member since Mon Jan 14, 2008
On Sun Jan 20, 2008 05:49 PM
This is really good!!! I teach classes from the 6 year olds just starting, to the novice/prizewinner class right before mine. I love it. it's so much fun. the only thing is be careful when you ask kids to sit and watch. it's never worked to well. it helps to have a couple people teaching from your class. If you really can't handle a big group when you're starting, have people that know the steps you're doing in the class teach people that are a little shaky, and you can focus on the people that don't know any of it.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By tigger08 Comments: 162, member since Thu Jan 31, 2008
On Thu Jan 31, 2008 06:29 PM
Well i am not a senior dancer but I help my teacher teach new little kids! They are so cute!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By Dannsair23 Comments: 115, member since Fri Nov 09, 2007
On Fri Feb 15, 2008 05:16 PM
I've been assisting for about a year and a half now, and it's really fun! This post will be very helpful! 1 new piece of advice I have to add- make sure that, even if you have different teaching methods than the TC, make sure you use the same terminology! Especially in the beginner levels, it can really confuse kids to hear different drillers/instructors call a certain move a jump-2-3, an over-2-3, leap-2-3, jump-step-in, leap-step-in... well, you get the picture, they might think that each one is a different move! If you're drilling older dancers, they'll see that you mean the same thing, but little kids can't really tell the difference.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By etwolff87 Comments: 7, member since Tue Mar 04, 2008
On Tue Mar 04, 2008 09:02 AM
At my school we have at least one instructor and one assistant at every class. (If not 2 instructors and 4 assistants!!) I am an instructor, and teach at every single class in our school. When teaching younger kids my biggest pet peeve is when assistants don't get up and physically show a kid what they are doing wrong if they are making a correction. Yelling out corrections during a dance almost never works, and singling kids out in front of the class will only lead to trouble with parents, and your other teachers. I always pull kids aside and tell them personally, and quietly.

Also, here are some helpful hints I've found when teaching Adults. When I first started teaching the class I most struggled with was our Adult program. It was so hard for them to wrap their heads around a 17 year old (with 13 years of dancing experience at the time) leading classes. Adults can almost be more sensitive than little kids. They also have much different learning styles. Adults seem to always want everything to be broken down as much as it possibly can. You also need to extremely sensitive and kind, adults are hard workers but can also be extremely self conscience. If I were in an adult class and was getting sass from my teenage instructor I don't think I would respect her either. I think joking around is the key with adults. I am always joking around with our adults, and I think the appreciate it. At least at our school, the adult class is supposed to be a fun way to exercise, these people aren't looking to become world champions, so just have fun with it. You don't need to correct every little thing with them, they are just there to have a good time!

Oh also! Be very careful with using general comments to a whole class too much. If someone if consistently making the same mistake that you tell the whole class to watch out for, they obviously don't know they are making that mistake.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By clarabel Comments: 399, member since Sat Dec 06, 2008
On Fri Apr 03, 2009 07:01 AM
I am 14 years old (soon) and I help my teacher teach quite often and have been doing for a couple of years. I love teaching and it is going to be my future job but untill then I enjoy what i do now.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By new2champs Comments: 144, member since Sat Aug 22, 2009
On Fri Jan 08, 2010 07:31 PM
Hi! I am 13 and I started teaching when I was 12. I teach everybody from the very beginners to champs. I am pretty short and it was super intimidating at first, but once I got to know everybody in the academy more, it became what I look forward to everyday!

My advice: Relax, keep calm, and teach things in more than one way. Not all kids learn in the same way. Try everything.
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By irishdancebrooke Comments: 26, member since Sun Nov 29, 2009
On Fri Jan 29, 2010 02:09 PM
Really good post!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By irishdancebrooke Comments: 26, member since Sun Nov 29, 2009
On Fri Jan 29, 2010 02:10 PM
This was really informative! I;ve always thought about assisting teaching but haven't really looked into it! Thanks againn!!
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By reel_faerie85member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4130, member since Mon Mar 08, 2010
On Thu Mar 25, 2010 04:15 PM
etwolff87 wrote:

Also, here are some helpful hints I've found when teaching Adults. When I first started teaching the class I most struggled with was our Adult program. It was so hard for them to wrap their heads around a 17 year old (with 13 years of dancing experience at the time) leading classes. Adults can almost be more sensitive than little kids. They also have much different learning styles. Adults seem to always want everything to be broken down as much as it possibly can. You also need to extremely sensitive and kind, adults are hard workers but can also be extremely self conscience. If I were in an adult class and was getting sass from my teenage instructor I don't think I would respect her either. I think joking around is the key with adults. I am always joking around with our adults, and I think the appreciate it. At least at our school, the adult class is supposed to be a fun way to exercise, these people aren't looking to become world champions, so just have fun with it. You don't need to correct every little thing with them, they are just there to have a good time!.


I am the only adult dancer in my school and take lessons with the kids, most of whom are better than me! I am extremely self concious about my dancing, my size, the way I sweat etc all things kids dont really need to worry about. I get extremely frustrated when I forget my steps and annoyed that I am not flexible. But its something to work on, my dance teacher is really nice tho and makes sure I understand what I am meant to be doing and what I am aiming for, and shes pleased that I bring grounding to the kids,
re: For those senior dancers who assist teaching, here is my advice.
By london1989 Comments: 8, member since Mon Aug 30, 2010
On Mon Aug 30, 2010 01:00 PM
this is very true and the things should defintaly been considering when teaching but the main and first thing yoy must remember is that all child are different and indivdual needs! and bring your self dwn to ther level and get to know them.
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