Teaching Kids Again: Refresher Course

(This entry was originally a social media post on my personal page.)

One of my biggest joys this year has been teaching kids again. I’ve been teaching beginning contemporary for 10-12 year olds regularly, but yesterday I was asked to sub hip-hop for 6-8-year-olds with only about an hour to prepare. I said yes. I have a pretty good grasp of house basics, so I went with that. When I arrived, I immediately saw what precedent had been sent for behavior…kids were running around, swinging from the barres, tackling each other, and having a grand old time. Hoo boy, this is going to be fun. Let’s see how your classroom management skills have held up over time, Sukie. Can you guide them in a way that brings them together into a common goal and help them feel pride in what they can achieve when they focus and work hard? 

At first, it was challenging. I let them have a water break. Oh my my. What in the world? They left the room without asking and went about 14 directions. Once I got them back, I explained how it would work next time. (That will teach me to let them go without setting expectations first.) It only had to happen once and I started to get into the swing of things. I kept praising their good choices and guiding them gently. When we started traveling across the floor, one young lady begin to do something different than what I was doing, gaining the attention of everyone else in the class. Dang, where were those eyes in the back of my head? I better find them again and quick! “Now listen y’all,” I said,”I’ve got nothing against twerking, but I’m teaching a different step right now. Audrey, can you show me again? Ahh, that’s it! Great job!”

They started getting into it. I asked a couple of students to demonstrate and that’s when we really started to vibe. They were so excited to show me what they could do. I even put the movements together in a sequence and they GOT it. When I put them to the test to have them do it on their own, they killed it! Wow! I was so impressed! Their uncontained joy was contagious. Before I came to teach that class, I was feeling down. Afterward, I felt that teaching buzz that I felt back in ’97 when I first started to lead kids in Brooklyn, NY. 

Thanks kids. Who runs the world? GIRLS! 🔥

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