How do you pick a teacher? Why is a qualified teacher important?
Dance teachers seem to be ten a penny these days. They’ll teach you all manner of things, ballet, tap, modern, musical theatre, commercial, contemporary, national... the list goes on and on and on! Every church hall seems to have a class running.
So how do you decide which teacher or school you pick?
I’ve got some helpful tips.
Check out their qualifications. A reputable teacher is likely to be a member of one of two major exam boards. Why is this important? Because it’s proof that they have been commited to their training to become a teacher. The teacher training for the ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) the board I’m a member of consists of both practical exams plus a whole bunch of theory before a teacher becomes qualified to DDE standard (Diploma of Dance Education). This qualification takes a lot of work to achieve, hours and hours of study time. Your teacher should have a DDE in each genre in an ideal world. They might have been the most wonderful dancer but they might not make the best teacher without retraining to learn their new trade.
Have a look and see if they attend CPD - I’ve got Intermediate Tap and the ISTD’s brand new Contemporary courses booked in my diary for the summer, chances are that won't be all I do. A good teacher is always prepared
to keep learning.
I’ve attended the ISTD teachers summer school several times to make
sure that my teaching and knowledge is up to standard.
Trial classes - you can go and trial a class with most teachers with no demand to commit to a term. We want you and your child to feel safe and happy so I am always pleased to be led by your family. If they need you to sit in for a few weeks thats fine, If your child demands that you stay outside thats fine too! Ensure that when you attend the class you pay attention to the interaction between your child and their peers as well as the teacher. My classes are friendly, possibly bordering on too chatty! My wonderful students are welcoming and a total delight most of the time! A good teacher ought to be able to understand your child very quickly. Some kids are quiet and need gentle interaction, some children are the total opposite and require a louder teacher! A good teacher can use both voices within the same class.
Price - shop around, but don’t go for the cheapest option! Unless thats your favourite teacher that you meet. Remember that reputable
teachers will have overhead costs including insurance, memberships, CPD etc.
Venue - your teacher should have evaluated the space that they are using - it should be a clean, well lit, an appropriate floor, well ventilated, and a secure space. In an ideal world it should have mirrors and barres. You should never ever feel uncomfortable walking into a studio.
In Southampton, if my class times don’t suit your schedule you can organise a private lesson or, I would recommend the following ISTD members - Emjay School of Dance, Kings Academy of Performing Arts,
Jane Mackinnon School of Dance, Roynon Dance, Sylvan School of Dance, Tori Caine School of Dance or in the forest Lindsey Read School of Dance or Joanna Hyne Dance School. Towards Fareham - try Natasha Lea
School of Dance or Roynon Swanmore.
Hope that these tips help you pick a great school for you or your child