It’s time to get back into the studio, to greet the smiling faces of our students and to get to work on the curriculum and routines for this year. If you want to start on the right foot, follow this checklist of planning activities that need to be done before you get back into the studio to ensure you are as prepared as possible for the year ahead.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
When it comes to planning, it’s not enough to just plan what will happen inside the studio in 2022. There are so many other things to consider, like your schedule and the curriculum. But have you also thought about the boundaries you’ll set or where you’ll do your own professional learning? It’s time to get planning how you will make time for all the important things that need to get done in your world before classes start back!
#1. Teaching timetable
Get excited; it’s time to dance! You might not get to set your own timetable, but it is great to be able to plan how you’ll manage your energy within that timetable. Make sure you know what you are teaching and when. This includes learning who will be in your class, their names and ability levels. Make sure you know what shoes you’ll need each day, what music you need to prepare and what syllabus you need to learn in order to ensure you are on your A game from lesson 1.
#2. Your weekly schedule
In addition to your teaching hours, have you planned all of the other hours in your week? We all have 168 hours in a week (including Beyonce!), and whilst 56 of those hours might be spent sleeping and 38 of them teaching, that leaves 74 hours to fill. During that time, you need to plan when (and what) you will eat, when you will fill up your own cup with reading, downtime, meditation, catching up with friends, etc., and when you will spend time investing in your own learning and planning for the lessons to come. Once you’ve created an ideal week plan for yourself, you have a structure to keep you motivated beyond the first five weeks of the year.
What planning have you done when it comes to your boundaries for 2022? Have you set time aside in your ideal week to handle parent/student communication? Have you come up with a plan on how students and parents can contact you – such as by email but not by Facebook messenger, or the opposite if that suits you best. This way, you won’t find yourself replying to text messages from Mrs Jones about Sally’s lost jazz shoe at 10pm on a Tuesday night. Figure out what your boundaries are, and set yourself up at the start of the year by communicating these boundaries to everyone in your circle – your partner, your boss, your students and your dance families.
#4. Professional development and further learning
It’s important to be continually learning in our profession. As things change and new styles and teaching methods emerge, I find it incredibly motivating to spend time learning new things. For me as a teacher, it keeps the work I do fresh and exciting for me to deliver, I get out of bed more easily, I am inspired to create choreography and to get into the studio. And for the students I teach, it keeps things interesting for them, too; they never know what is around the corner. With so many online resources available to dance teachers, in 2022, I am looking forward to incorporating some live events with my online learning. In July, I am travelling with dance teachers from all over Australia to New York, where we will spend four days in NYC seeing Broadway shows and then three days at Rhee Gold’s DanceLife Teacher Conference, one of the biggest dance teacher conventions in the world. (You should join us!)
#5. And finally…Curriculum
What are you going to do differently with your curriculum this year? Are there new ways to teach your technique classes or content that could keep things fresh for you and your students this year? What do you need to do in order to prepare these new lessons? Set some time aside this week to ask yourself these questions, and do your future self a favour by being organised ahead of time.
With some planning and organisation, you will start the year feeling refreshed and revitalised, and your students will reap the benefits. You’ll teach exciting, prepared and thought-provoking classes and produce talented and passionate students who know what to expect and respect your teaching and communication skills. A great recipe for success!
If you need help preparing your ideal week, reach out to me on Instagram @simplystaceymorgan, and for more information on our fabulous trip to New York (Yes, you should come with us. Aren’t you dying to get on a plane again?!), go to simplystaceymorgan.com/by-dance-teacher-4-dance-teachers-new-york.
By Stacey Morgan of Dance Informa.