Tip tap and treble hop back – the building up and breaking down of relationships with students and how it impacts your life. Some thoughts for Dance teachers…
Every day I wake and it’s one of the first things I think of… what does today have in store? Am I prepared for the lessons, not just the lesson plans, music lists, choreography and the admin but am I physically ready to take people on another part of their journey? Am I ready for the next part of my journey? I think people forget that the teacher is human, with a life, hopes, desires, incredible sadness and joys to deal with on a daily basis. Their classes are their lives.
The responsibility of being a teacher is a huge one. I love it and that’s because I care (probably too much) about each and every student and every class. I feel a huge responsibility over their happiness and development and the impact that I can have, not just in class but in other areas of their lives too. I’ve been told by numerous dancers over the years that this is the case… that dancing with Siamsoir has impacted them professionally, mentally and physically. I take great pride in these results but I know that this is ultimately down to them but I am always happy to be a part of their journey.
As one student recently said – there are other Irish Dance classes but there is only one Jennifer Roxburgh Irish Dance Class. I like to think that this is true. I am my own unique person (as is everyone else, of course). Siamsoir’s strength is in the way that I teach – with my whole heart, passionately, professionally and devotedly and this is a reflection of my personality. No one else teaches like me and I don’t teach like anyone else (for this I am eternally grateful!). I know that for a lot of people they love this about Siamsoir. That is why the people who are for Siamsoir are really for us – ridiculously loyal, passionate, creative, driven and selfless.
Of course, there are those who do not like this and who don’t ‘get me’, I hope that these people find what they are looking for elsewhere. I genuinely want people to get what they want out of life which is why I support people and offer so many opportunities to them when I can. However, if I cannot be the one to help them get what they want, then we are both wasting our time.
Yes, it hurts a lot when people don’t get the Siamsoir philosophy (correction… it used to hurt!), now, however it is the best thing for them, and for me and the rest of my treasured dancers. A negative entity in the studio can just about destroy a good thing. I nearly let this happen once. I nearly lost everything because I cared so much about every dancer, even the ones who were not for me and what a lot of energy that wasted by both parties. Looking back I can now see how toxic it was to have allowed (yes, allowed) other people to control the mood and spirit of my classes. But, you learn from experience, you grow strong and you take control of your situation. I always say in class – ‘this is your class not mine’ – because it is, you are paying me to teach you, it is nothing to do with my ego or my dancing – absolutely nothing! The other side of this is that it is my company and I am the Director and I am responsible and directly affected by the people who I allow to be in my classes. Luckily I have become very good at holding on to the people I want in my life. Life is far too short to waste your energy, passion and love on people who are ultimately not going to appreciate it. So, if you are in my class you know that you are loved, respected, appreciated and valued.
If you are a dance teacher, like me, I know you will appreciate the sentiment and experiences in this blog post. Knowing the responsibility you have in looking after your students, being very much aware of the impact they can have on your life too but ultimately, staying true to what you want to get out of life and always, always taking the high road. Dance is ultimately about respect.