At Christmas a rather wonderful thing happened to me. A couple who I have been teaching for a few years decided that they would dance a demonstration for me as a Christmas present. I arrived for our one to one lesson and was met by the couple all dressed in their dancing clothes and looking very smart. I was escorted to a table where there were chocolates and a nice drink and handed the programme of dances. They had their own music system sorted and all I was asked to do was watch and enjoy and see their improvement. I think they danced around ten dances with breaks in between and then I was given a Christmas present and paid for the lesson. They insisted I took the money for the lesson despite having just sat there watching and smiling. It made me feel so appreciated and valued as a teacher and as is my style it was not long before I was wiping away a tear. This was one of the nicest things a student of mine had ever done.
After Christmas I started to think about what I might do to surprise others and make them feel appreciated. This of course means staff and students. This week has been the first week back and it is a lovely week to teach because everyone is pleased to see their friends and the teachers and to get into action again. Tonight I am starting a new course for beginners as well as my intermediate class. What would make them feel more valued?
Firstly I am going to make doubly sure that I call everyone by name at least twice during the lessons so that when they return next week I know their names. I am going to ask them about their experience of the lesson and whether it met or hopefully exceeded their expectations. I will introduce them to each other so that they can quickly make friends and I shall particularly thank them all for coming out of their warm houses on a January night.
For the staff, I want everyone to see how much I appreciate what they do so I will be putting up a notice in plain sight that thanks them for teaching an excellent class earlier in the week. It is so easy to take people for granted.
So this January when you are excited to see new people in the class make doubly sure that you let them know how happy you are to see them and do what you can to make the staff feel both motivated and appreciated.
Next week I am going to discuss the IDTA London meeting and the importance of attending this type of event for networking, advice and furtherance of knowledge. I think 2019 is going to be a great year for Dance.