What Makes You Great?

This post is part ofΒ circle time over at Dance Advantage!

There are approximately 1,601, 948 children living in the borough of Manhattan where I teach on a daily basis. That means there are probably 1,000,000 places to take your kids to dance class.

Even for as long as I have taught in Manhattan sometimes I have to pinch myself. Why do parents want to bring their kids to me for dance? With so many choices, it’s not something I take lightly. I know I can’t be all things to all people, but I do really try to take my best qualities and use them with my students.

Thinking about what qualities makes a great teacher, I picked 4 that I think are my best ones. The ones that shine through to my littles, the ones they love me for.

Being Flexible: And I don’t mean my hamstrings! I mean when on the first day the child won’t separate, I let Mom in for a bit. I mean when the class a child signed up for doesn’t work out in their schedule anymore and asks to move for a new time, I let them in. I mean when my littles ask to do a dance over and over and over, I do it. To me, that’s being flexible.

Anticipation: Anticipating what could happen BEFORE it happens is a good quality to have. This is what makes my class safe. Sometimes I can anticipate what my littles are going to say and sometimes I can predict what they are going to do. Developing this skill keeps all the littles happy and having fun. Some things I just can’t anticipate like pee on the floor. But, hey, that’s just part of the job! πŸ™‚

Compassion: Give hugs. Lots and lots of hugs. I try to listen to them as much as I can. I try to strike a balance of things they want to share and what I want to get done. If they cry for any reason I try to be compassionate. We all have bad days and being shown love will only help. This is the most important one. Protect those little hearts!

Time: Take time to develop stories, movements, and songs WITH your littles. Giving them time and space to share what they have to say is what they will remember. They may remember first position, but they will most likely remember the song about the frog you made up in their 3 year old dance class. Giving those experiences are priceless, please make the time!

So there you have it. Four qualities that I think shine through.

What makes you great? What qualities shine through? I would love to hear!


  1. Pingback: The Qualities Of A Great Dance Teacher | Dance Advantage

    1. Author

      Thanks Tiffany! I know it’s a hard one, and a fine balance, but sometimes it makes all the difference!

  2. This is great! I know the things that I’m bad at, but I don’t often stop to think about the things that I’m good at. I think I have a passion to “get it right”. This doesn’t so much apply to in the classroom as it does outside of it…. in how I go about planning a course, fact checking, and making sure there’s no possible room for improvement (while knowing full well that there is ALWAYS room for that). I think this comes across in my ability to communicate effectively and use analogies and metaphors until they get it right too. Thanks for this post, Maria!

    1. Author

      thanks Lauren! I think it’s important to think about the things we do right as well as our weaknesses. I don’t think teachers give themselves enough credit. To grow we need to think about what makes us great! I’m glad it can help you out of the classroom too! Thanks for your comment as always! πŸ™‚

  3. LOVE! As usual πŸ™‚ Especially anticipation and being flexible. SUCH awesome points that come up DAILY in classrooms!

  4. Hi Maria
    Great post. I just started teaching tap and ballet/creative movement to ages 2-6. Working with little ones in any capacity is new to me (although I have twin 2-1/2 year olds and new baby, so I’ve learned a little in recent years πŸ™‚ ) Your word provide some good inspiration, and I’ll read some of your other posts. The dance school director/owner has a very strong/bold (sometimes even intimidating) style (she can keep the kids in line, but they also adore her). Her personality is so different from mine, yet I’m trying to follow her lead while finding my own style and method of teaching. I enjoy being creative, and love the children. The hardest part for me is keeping their attention and some sense of order. I’m learning… πŸ™‚

    1. Author

      Hi Ann, I’m so glad what your finding her is useful! Just remember, it’s all in experience. The more you teach young kids, the more experience you get. Every teacher is different, and you just have to figure out what it is that works for you. My ideas here are just for inspiration, you can take them and do whatever you would like with them. If you have specific questions, or specific things you would like me to write about just let me know! I’m happy to help in anyway that I can. Thanks so much for stopping by and for your comment! πŸ™‚

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