I am sure that many dance teachers, like myself, are getting ready and some even dreading going back to work very soon.
As a dance teacher, I am so fortunate that I can take a lovely long break at the end of the year. Sometimes I feel like I am so spoilt considering that other people in other professions only get about three weeks off a year.
Yes, we as dance teachers are really lucky there, but I think that we deserve it, because teaching is hard hard work. If we don’t take a decent break each year, we will probably get burnt out really quickly.
At the end of the year, I normally feel a bit like a Zomby, and count down the days to the holidays, dragging my tired body through the last few days of the year. It’s not that I don’t love teaching dance, it’s simply because by that stage of the year I am exhausted.
Now that the holidays are almost over, I wonder if I am the only teacher that dreads that first week back in the studio. I think it is worse to go back and teach after a long break, especially if you haven’t been dancing during the break, as your body will hate you for those first few days.
If you are anything like me, who doesn’t do any dancing during the holidays, you will rediscover those muscles you thought you never had in a really bad way. And believe me, the older you get, the worse going back to work gets.
At the beginning of the year, we normally take in new pupils, and at the same time teach new work to our older students. Because of this fact we are suddenly dancing each and every class that we give, demonstrating the steps for hours on end and really working those lazy holiday muscles.
Here are some tips you can use when going back to work at your dance studio after a long holiday.
Make Sure You Rest Rest and Rest On Your Holiday
As a ballet teacher, or any dance teacher for that matter, your life revolves around dance, and your brain just keeps at it.
Make sure that while you are on leave that you are able to unplug and do something entirely different that has absolutely nothing to do with dancing.
Getting your mind off of dance and into something else can be really difficult, and you will need to push those thoughts away with a conscious effort, but if you manage to do this, you will make sure that you go back to work fresh and rejuvenated.
One way of getting your mind off of the studio is to spend a few days after you have closed the studio getting things in order, like packing costumes away, preparing music or finishing up the books. There are always some chores that have managed to slip through the cracks during all the busy times. In this way, you will be able to relax more as you won’t have to worry about getting to these loose ends during your downtime and you will be far more organized when you go back to work.
Take A Class
That is, take a class that is not taught by you. You can go in and focus totally on yourself, and at the same time keep your body in tune so you don’t battle to get back into things once you start work again.
If you can’t take a dance class, make sure you do some form of exercise to keep your muscles awake. There is nothing worse than going back to work with muscles that don’t want to do anything. You will also avoid a lot of aches and pains if you keep fit and healthy.
Go Back To Work A Little Earlier
It is a good idea to go back to work a day or two earlier before all your pupils come in.
Take some time to get into lesson planning and thus ease yourself back into teacher mode, so that by the time that you step into a class full of students you feel well prepared and back into the swing of things.
Chances are your students won’t feel so ready, but at least you will be rearing to go and charged with energy.
Take It Easy Going Back To Work
Easier said than done I know, but try not to overdo the demonstrating. Start off slowly with your students. Demonstrate a little and then make them practice on their own a bit. Chances are they will not want to learn too much their first week back, just focus on getting their bodies working correctly again.
A good way to start them off is with some floor barre. In this way, they can get their muscles ready for action without to much strain. Floor barre also enables the dancers to relearn how to use the correct muscles. This also means you can get off of your tired feet for a little while.
In this way, you can ease back into your teaching routine with your students and not hobble out of bed the next morning.
Remember that breaks are essential for your well being, dance teachers. You work hard because let’s face it – teaching dancing is very demanding both mentally and physically. The trick is to stay balanced and learn to work in a more balanced way.
Remember that as a teacher you are constantly giving and giving of yourself. Well, you need to balance this out by giving back to yourself from time to time. Learn to relax when it is time to relax, and most of us, let’s face it, have to work on how to relax both the body and the mind.