Yesterday marked my first day at a new teaching gig for a performing arts program for children. It’s the first time in over a year that I’ve taught kids and even though the first day went pretty much without incident, I’m still nervous.
As I mentioned in my “What I’ve Been Up To” blog post a couple months back, teaching children has never been my forté, for a few reasons:
- I have no patience–I get frazzled and I either get anxious and cry or get angry and yell.
- I’m not great at relating to kids–I noticed when I was teaching at the first school that some of what I was asking the kids to do was going a tad over their heads or boring them. There’s no quicker way to lose control of a classroom than to bore kids. I’m hoping that this time around I’ve learned enough to not have that problem.
- I have difficulty differentiating between age-appropriateness and pandering to children. Contrary to what a lot of the world seems to think, children are smarter and capable of more than people think. Making things excessively simple and squeaky clean does them a disservice. That said, I do still want my students to feel like kids and not have to embody or learn anything they’re not ready for. This type of push pull can be confusing, but I’m hoping this new gig will be a chance to work through it and really become a great teacher that challenges her students while still recognizing their youth.
These hurdles aside, I’m hoping that my year of experience teaching at a studio and my (admittedly brief) previous experience teaching children will come in handy. By teaching at a studio, I’ve learned how to plan out a class and how to develop a class with a consistent student base over a period of time. My experience teaching kids has taught me a little bit about what engages them and a lot about what not to do when you’re charged with the care and artistic enrichment of kids (yelling, getting anxious, letting the kids get over on you–all really terrible ideas).
Hopefully, this time I’m successful.