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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Student Teaching


Guest sylphide*4ever

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Guest sylphide*4ever

I have a friend who works in the summer, and part-time for the rest of the year, as a dance teacher at a private studio. She teaches mainly contemporary, and some jazz classes occasionally. She is 17 and has been studying dance for a long time, and needed a job to help with her University tuition.

 

I'm not at the stage where I have to worry about university tuition yet, but I want to start preparing myself for a student teaching part-time or summer job. I actually have an interest in going into medical school, or a science-related field, which is pretty odd because of my studies in ballet :) . How should I prepare myself for a student-teaching job of this sort? If it helps, I am 14, and studying RAD Advanced 1 and grade 7 at the same time. I have done on-and-off assistant teaching, only for RAD pre-primary to grade 3 (ages 4-8), and occasionally grade 5's.

 

Thank you for any suggestions.

Veronica

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In order for a student teaching program to be truly effective, there must be constant feedback and correction from a lead teacher whose qualifications include and exceed the level in which the student teacher is working. Many teachers use "assistant teachers" but give them no extra compensation or instruction in teaching. I consider this practice to be unfair and unethical. Just teaching doesn't make you a teacher, and it's hard to find your own way without a guide.

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I am finishing my fourth year as a student teacher or "teacher's trainee" at my school. The program is like the one my teacher was part of when she was younger. When we first started, we had monthly meetings as a group where we discussed our classes, or techniques to use in class for problem children, parents, etc. We had to take vocabulary tests and we all got copies of the syllabus. Every once in a while, we would just observe class and right down things we noticed to talk about with the teacher afterwards. For the first two years, we didn't really do anything except to be an extra body in the class, and sometimes we would lead an exercise if the teacher was going to go correct the kids. We would be in the pre-ballet classes with kids between 3 and 6. Mostly starting last year, sometime leading the rhythmic claps at the beginning of class, or plies, or a game, would be led by the trainees, and we would get feedback after class.

 

Starting when you are sixteen, the school can pay you for teaching, so if they need a teacher and they think you're ready, they start really preparing you when you are 15, as I am. At that point, you must be assisting the director, so that she can make sure she thinks that you are ready. We've been alternating weeks for a while...I'll teach a week and she'll give me suggestsions and compliments, and then she'll teach a week and I will take notes on the strategies that she uses and the exercises she does. I've learned a lot in just a few classes, and my teacher seems to be quite happy with my abilities. I feel really comfortable up there in front of a class, and I think it's due, in large part, to the fact that I started out without any sort of teaching role, but more as a copycat role. Just my two cents...I'm not sure if there was exactly a point there, except for telling how my school does it, though.

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That sounds like a pretty good basic training for teachers. I'm glad to hear that your school takes teacher training seriously.:)

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