Last month we talked about getting our office staff on the same page. This month we are concentrating on our faculty and how to help them to help us to provide the best service and product to both of our clients, the parents and the students. As the summer comes to and end and studios are either already in session or about to be, it is helpful to ensure that not only have you secured the best faculty possible, but that you feel confident that your working relationship with them will be a smooth and problem free one. There are a number of ways to make sure that the day to day running of the classes goes according to your plan.

Last month we talked about getting our office staff on the same page. This month we are concentrating on our faculty and how to help them to help us to provide the best service and product to both of our clients, the parents and the students. As the summer comes to and end and studios are either already in session or about to be, it is helpful to ensure that not only have you secured the best faculty possible, but that you feel confident that your working relationship with them will be a smooth and problem free one. There are a number of ways to make sure that the day to day running of the classes goes according to your plan.

When hiring faculty members we always make sure that they understand that apart from their teaching credentials, the number one thing that we look for is reliability. Im sure that most studio owners have experienced at one time or another the teacher who is gifted and popular as a teacher but who cannot seem to comprehend the fact that they need to be at least 15 minutes early for their first class and that to be late for any of their classes is demonstrating to the parents and the students that they do not value them or their time. So, we make sure that all of our teachers understand that unless there are extremely mitigating circumstances, lateness will not be tolerated.

Mostly teachers do understand the importance of punctuality but in the occasional instances where they just dont care to understand we have found that the first step is to talk to them and find out what the problem is and if there is anything that can be done to resolve it. If step one doesnt work then the second step is to deduct some of their salary to show that we feel that it is an issue. If that does not work, then unfortunately they leave you no alternative but to ask them to leave. This action can sometimes present its own set of problems, especially if the teacher is popular. So if it does come down to the moment when you feel that you have no alternative, make sure that you have another teacher ready to step in and take over the classes. It is never an easy decision, but if a teacher is continually allowed to go against your principles it will appear that you are condoning the behavior and therefore opening the door for others to follow suit. Fortunately, this kind of situation rarely occurs because the majority of dance teachers are eager to be on time and give a good example to their students.

It is a good idea to make sure that each teacher understands how you, as the studio owner, want disciplinary action to take place. The most important thing for them to know is that whatever happens, whether it is a child being disrespectful to the teacher or constantly coming in late to class or not abiding by the dress code or whatever it may be, that it is handled in the same way by all of the faculty members. Why is this so important? The experience needs to be the same for the clients no matter who is teaching. It also takes the responsibility away from the teacher if they know that there are set guidelines on how to handle any of these issues. It makes it easier for the teachers to teach and for the office staff to deal with parents and wayward children!

Letting teachers know at the beginning of the year what your expectations are also takes a lot of the guesswork out of the way and makes it less likely that there will be miscommunications during the year. We feel that it is extremely important for each teacher to work with a syllabus as a guideline. It simply makes for better teaching with more logical progression for the students from year to year. If you or your teachers are not currently working with a syllabus for all of your classes you can either look at ways to implement some of them or to make life easy for everyone, make lists of the content that you want each class to know by the end of the season. We have our teachers mark down each week the steps that they have included in their class which makes it very much easier for anyone that comes in as a sub and also is a way for us to make sure all the content is being covered.

Corrections are an integral part of dance as is discipline. The delivery of the correction and any discipline in a class needs to be given in a positive way and so it is important to make sure that your teachers are on the same page with you in this area. Derogatory comments by teachers on weight related issues or class work will only harm the students and may ultimately make them want to withdraw from the studio.

I am a firm believer in making students understand that there must be discipline in dance otherwise very little, if anything is accomplished, however it is so important to approach it in a very positive way. In this day and age discipline is lacking in many homes and so there is often resistance to it at the studio but by presenting it with some humor I have found that teachers get better results.

Making sure that your teachers understand deadlines for choreography and music editing for whatever events you have during the year is extremely helpful. The teachers will feel good if they know the exact schedule for anything that they have to produce and you will feel relieved that everything will be on schedule when you need it to be.

We meet monthly with each teacher to discuss any issues or ideas they may have to help improve the classes. Many a good idea has come from these meetings and the teachers definitely feel more invested in the studio when they know that we are interested in what they have to say. It also gives us an opportunity to resolve any problems or simply just to remind them how important they are to our studio. Giving them an unexpected small gift such as a gift card for gas or coffee goes a long way in keeping a great relationship with your faculty.

Being on the same page with your teachers will not only make the day to day experience a happier one but will also help to build your studio in strength and numbers. Good luck with your season.