It is Friday night. I am watching the sun slowly fade over the mountain tops from my kitchen window, sipping hot tea, reflecting upon my life and the experiences that I have had through dance. There is so much information inside of me that wants to be shared because I know how important and transformational dance is. It is more than just the steps and techniques.
I have been in the dance industry for over 23 years and have recently started mentoring other dance studio owners and teachers. I have had the honor of coaching educators from all over the world, and the one thing that all of them have in common is what I want to share with you now.
Every dance parent must know this.
Your child's dance teacher LOVES your child and wants nothing but the best for them. Period.
No matter what drama is going on, no matter who the studio "favorite" is, or whatever it is that you do not agree with, I need you to know that your child is loved. Your studio owner/teacher only wants the best for your child, and he/she is doing the very best that they can with every single decision being made from the heart.
Your child is their WHY. They are the reason they do what they do.
In my years of working with studio owners and teachers, the one thing I know for sure is that they know LOVE. They love their students. There is nothing that they will not do for the success of the Dancer, the Team, and the Studio.
I have known teachers who love the dance studio so much, that after a miscarriage, they come back to teach a few days later. After deaths in the family, personal surgeries, cancer scares, childbirth......they are teaching sooner than most people would even consider coming back to work.
They spend their weekends away from their family so that they can be with yours at a dance competition. They forgo family dinners and putting their kids to bed because they choose to be with your Dancer. They spend early mornings and late nights working tirelessly to make sure that they are providing the best possible dance space for their students to thrive.
And from behind the scenes, they struggle. They struggle significantly in finding a work/life balance. They battle with heartbreak when a student decides to quit. They lose sleep over that angry e-mail or bad google review. They have a hard time hearing parents complaining in the lobby, which for them is their home. It is also frustrating to hear about the negative chatter in dressing rooms at a competition, or parents rallying each other to leave, because, to the teacher, all he/she is doing is trying to be the best for everyone. The teacher feels deflated and defeated when their efforts and intentions are not recognized. It is a lot to manage not only the student's emotions and interests but also the parents.
Dance Teachers are in the profession of constant people-pleasing, and it can take its toll.
It is a tough business for them emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. There are many times that they question if they can even do it anymore, and yet the choice to continue is made. The love that is there for the dancers will always conquer the feelings of defeat.
So the next time you are upset, I beg of you- take a breath. Remember that your teacher is doing the best that they can. Try to approach the situation with a little more compassion and willingness to find a solution. Leave blame, anger, and threats at the door. Approach the situation with a desire to understand (and if it is too late, and your personal emotions have already shown up, an apology is always an acceptable restart button.)
And teachers, when you do get feedback from a parent, I beg of you- breathe. Remember that you are doing the best that you can and that YOU are a work in progress. Remember that they, too, are doing the best that they can and are only wanting the best for their child. The intention of both parties is the same. Approach the situation with an open heart and willingness to listen, rather than defend studio policies or ego. Search for a win/win solution and always come back to the root of what you truly want, your WHY.
Sometimes when we do get that angry e-mail or complaint, it is an opportunity for us to check in with ourselves. It is a chance to make sure that our hearts and intentions are in alignment with what is happening in the studio.
It takes three parties to build a successful dance studio—Teachers, Dancer, and Parents.
If we all remember that our seed of intention is LOVE, seeing that everyone is doing the best that they can AND offer loads of grace and compassion, well, l think these are great ingredients for a successful and thriving studio life.
......And if there is one thing that I know for sure, it is this.
Your child's dance teacher LOVES your child and wants nothing but the best for them.
Thank you for reading and sharing this post! If you would like a one-on-one mentoring session with Julie, you may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.