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Here’s How to Be a Dance Teacher Your Students Will Respect


Teacher article


Dance Teachers

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Find out what it means to me…

Yes, lyrics by the great Aretha Franklin. We all want it. Some folks think they just deserve it while others don’t give it but demand it back. The reality is, Respect is earned not given.

I believe that dance teachers are some of the most giving and loving teachers out there. They pour their heart and souls into their students. But if you are not presenting yourself in the best light then you cannot complain when some of your students start to act up.

The best teachers are not only knowledgeable but also caring. Caring means many things. It encompasses preparing for class, dressing appropriately and understanding that you have a responsibility to present yourself always in the best light possible. Hey, it is show biz and you are under the spot light every day you teach. Always keep in mind that the students don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. And care comes in many forms.

Now, your students will challenge you sometimes. That is part of their growing up process and that doesn’t mean that they don’t respect you. Respect is also earned by setting standards and limits and then enforcing those when your students fall short. To do this you need to be very clear as to what you want and expect.

I have found that unfortunately in today’s world respect is something that a lot of folks just do not understand. Because of this I think too many teens today have trouble with self-respect. They have that “Me first” mentality and that leads to an unrealistic view of the world and the people in it. So, in some cases you will be swimming upstream teaching a life skill that is not prevalent today. The good news is that once we can teach our students about self-respect that will morph into respect for others and to you as their teacher

So here are some questions that you need to ask yourself…

Do you come to class looking the part of the teacher? A must for that visual impression.

Do you arrive on time and are prepared for class? This will set you up for success or if you don't prepare to fail.

Are you upbeat and do you try to motivate your students to strive for more? No one is inspired by a teacher who is uninspired. Keep yourself up to date with your class content and music.

Do you socialize with your students outside of the classroom? A BIG no-no. They are your students not your friends. Professionals know the difference and never cross that line

Do you make negative or inappropriate comments about your studio director or other faculty members? Complainers look like small people. If you talk about others don’t be surprised when others talk about you.

Are you open to criticism and to new ideas and teaching methods? This is a big key to having your students be receptive to what you are saying.

This is a simple list and can be uncomfortable to read if you are falling short in any area. But here is the GOOD NEWS, everything is fixable! You may just have to make some subtle adjustments and you will be right on track to being the person that everyone in the studio not only respects but looks up to as a role model.

Here’s to your success!


Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Steve is co-founder of Dance Teacher Web the number one online resource for dance teachers and studio owners worldwide.He is Co-Director of the very successful D'Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Center in Fairfield, CT for the past thirty plus years. His students have gone on to very successful careers in dance, music and theater. Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He has appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, He has also co-authored two books one for dance teachers and one for studio owners in the "It's Your Turn" Book series. He is available for master classes, private business consulting and teacher training development

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