If you have ever had to substitute for another dance teacher you know how hard it can be. People don’t like change, and dancers become especially accustomed to having a particular routine. Recently I had to have a young lady step in to teach for me because I was traveling and it made me think about how challenging it is to be a sub.
Teaching for someone else can be a very difficult task, but there are ways to make it easier. Here are a few things that have worked for me:
+ Do your own thing. Don’t try to be like the person who was teaching the class, instead, do what you are comfortable with. You will feel more confident and things will go more smoothly. The students will adapt.
+ Ignore those odd stares you’ll get the first class or two. Some students will not like the change–especially at first. This has nothing to do with you. The other teacher has had time to develop a rapport with the students and you are new. Expect a few ruffled feathers and don’t take it personally…
+ Ask students questions. Sometimes it can help to draw them out of their shell a bit. If you can, come a little early and engage students in conversation before you head into class. It will help you get to know each other better.
+ If you get nervous, say so. This won’t work for everyone, but sometimes it can help if you just tell the class you are a little nervous. They may be more sympathetic than you would think. Plus, sometimes just saying the words can get rid of the butterflies.