Setting goals is a huge topic. When I think of my own goals, I think of how many I have accomplished since graduating college. I also think of how many more I want to accomplish. Eeek, makes my head hurt! If you ask my husband, he says I have a new goal every week! He’s right, it is just in my nature to be ambitious. It’s good to have goals, but sometimes I dwell and think about them too much; I’m still working on the balance.
I also think about setting goals for my littles. When teaching, especially the young ones, goals are most important. I call it my “hidden agenda.” I don’t tell them about goals, instead I show them. Can you imagine their faces if I tried to explain setting goals to them? haha.
These goals are rather simple ones that teach them about life. Skills they could take to school or any class and use. I become their role model and set the goals for them. Just like you have a goal for every lesson, you should be clear on “hidden goals.” Goals that you never really say out loud, but you know you are working towards them in every class.
So without further ado.. never before shared…I’m introducing you to My Hidden Agenda!
Goal #1) Listen: It’s important to teach littles how to listen, but it’s almost more important that you listen to them. I try to carve out some time in every class to listen to what they have to say. Give them a chance to be heard. Let them share their ideas, and by you being a good listener, you are showing them how to listen.
Goal #2) Move: When shy dancers come to class, it’s my goal to get them moving as soon as possible. I know that once they start dancing they will love it and want to come back and not be the wallflower. Do whatever you need to get them moving — play their favorite song, dance with their friend in class; trust me, it works.
Goal #3) Share: In life, we have to share everything. I think this is the hardest goal to teach of all, but most days the kids surprise me. You know that saying “you get what you get and you don’t get upset?” I know they use it at school, but I try not to use it in my classes. I allow my dancers to choose their own color scarves or spots. I explain that if the color they want is not there, they need to pick another color. If someone is upset about not getting the color that they want, I facilitate helping them work it out. 9 times out of 10 it works. And voila, the role model of sharing.
Goal #4) Engage: This might be more of a goal for me than for them but they help me measure it. I try to engage them for 45 minutes. I am silly, loud, quiet, big, small, fast, slow, and much much more. If you were someone who never saw a dance class before you might think I am a little looney. If your students are engaged, that’s less time for them to misbehave and that’s good news for you. Make your transitions seamless and they will stay with you!
Goal #5) Mistakes: Show them you make mistakes. “oops, I put on the wrong song” “oh no, I called you the wrong name!” Tell them if you made a mistake. Don’t try to cover it up or sweep it under a spot. Be honest and they will love you even more.
Goal #6) Confidence: I think the goal closest to my heart is to teach confidence. If my littles leave dance class with a little bit more confidence that I gave to them, I feel satisfied. Even if they don’t remember chasse or plie, having confidence is key. You need a ton of confidence to live in this world and to be honest until I became an early childhood dance teacher I hardly had any myself. I guess you could say my littles give me just as much confidence as I give them. What an awesome feeling!
If I can give you any advice on setting goals for your littles it would be to build them up. Let dance be a safe place for them to look forward to coming once a week and where they can be themselves without judgement. There are not many places like that left, the least we can do is offer that space. Right?
Do you have a hidden agenda for teaching your classes? What goals do you think are important for your littles beyond balancing on one foot? I would love to hear!
p.s. This post is entering circle time at Dance Advantage!