Teaching Dance and setting goals
I am all about teaching my students to set goals, breaking their big goals down into mini goals and then making a plan to achieve them. However, when it came to me setting goals for my classes, I wasn’t always so systematic! Of course, I had a vague idea in my head of the kinds of things I wanted to achieve but sometimes, as the night wore on and I felt tired and a bit grumpy, I would lose sight of those goals. It was a bit like my car trips. I often think I know which way to go but then halfway there find myself totally lost. I turn here, I turn there, I eventually pull over and set my GPS. I get to my destination but not always in the most efficient way. Teaching dance without a clear sense of what you want to achieve is a bit like driving without a a road map. That’s why I started writing my goals down all down, creating a road map for my dance teacher goals. In the rough and tumble of a night at the studio, being able to look at my goals for each class and setting aside a few moments to reflect has added such a sense of focus and achievement to my teaching.
Why writing goals down works
As a crazy busy dance teacher, I have about a thousand and one things in my head at any one time. Random pieces of choreography, a zillion different names, countless syllabus exercises, details about each and every student, how to get the best out of them, closing dates, costume ideas, the list just goes on and on. Just like when you wake up at night and can’t get an idea out of your head, holding each and every piece of information creates stress. Writing goals down, means you don’t have to keep trying to remember them. It takes care of that one important thing. It also serves as a concrete reminder of what you are trying to achieve, forces you to really take some time to think it through and most importantly provides you opportunity to evaluate – gives you a sense of accountability.
Goal setting – a worksheet
I created this handy printable which I find works super well for setting goals and teaching dance with a plan! I have one for each class and I write down my 5 big goals for the year. Sometimes, it is hard to choose just five but if I’m struggling I make the goals very broad. I also find it useful to think about the problems the class is having, the things they don’t do well and work from there. Then I break these down into goals for the month. So, for example, I may have a class whose port de bras needs work, so this will be one of my overarching goals. I may dedicate the first month to developing a strong bras bas/5th en bas position so my theme for that week might be working on shaping the arms. At the end of the week I can evaluate how it all went and then carry over to the next week. Here is an example of a filled in sheet.
The way you use this sheet can vary – sometimes I’ll be working on an overarching goal across all my classes, so I might just fill in one for baby classes, one for juniors etc. Around exams or performances I will use them more intensively to make sure every last detail is checked off. As the year progresses, the main goals for the year or the month may change. When you are teaching dance, we all know that there are some points in the year that you just think you might quite possibly go mad. I find that using something like this, just helps me to focus a little bit more and gives me that sense of achievement. It helps on those days when you just think you are getting nowhere – that all your efforts and corrections are falling on deaf ears. If you’d like your very own Dance Teacher goals sheet you can download it by entering your email below.