I will graduate from high school this year, and everyone expects me to know exactly what I want to do with my life. And I don’t. I’m planning to go to college and will figure out a major eventually, but for now, I just really want to be a dance teacher. Do you have any advice?
Congratulations on your pending graduation! You’re at a super exciting time in your life. (Cliche, we know, but it’s true. The future is so bright, we promise!) We are all about the pursuit of a college education. It’s so valuable, and you’ll make great connections no matter which direction you decide to go in life.
But we’re also all about following your dreams, and if your dream is to be a dance teacher, do it! The great thing is that you can actually do both. You can start teaching dance while you’re in college by finding a studio near campus and getting a part-time or freelance teaching gig.
A few things to keep in mind…
There are all different kinds of dance teachers. Some are also studio owners, which requires some serious business savvy and an entrepreneurial spirit. There are also people who are strictly choreographers — meaning a studio may hire them simply to come in and teach a routine to the competition team.
If you’re looking at a studio teaching job, there’s no time like the present to get started. Because really, why wait?
Start by asking your current studio owner if you can start assisting a few classes. Then, prove you’re super capable by asking to teach a baby class or a mini combo class (think tap-ballet classes for the 5-and-under set). You’ll be required to create a syllabus or at least a simple plan for classes, including a warm-up, technique drills, choreography, and, for the young ones, playtime activities to keep it fun and engaging.
Getting a few small, local gigs will immediately boost your resume. If it’s OK with your studio owner, you can also teach at other nearby studios (but be sure to run that one by your boss first).
It’s also important to remember that as a teacher, even though you’re basically in the spotlight at the front of the room, it’s not about you. It’s about your students and helping them to feel and dance their best. If you’re having a bad day, your students shouldn’t know or be able to tell. Plus, you should have a knack for creativity and enthusiasm, paired with a hefty dose of passion.
Becoming a dance teacher can be one of the toughest and most rewarding jobs out there. So whether you just teach one class per week at a local community center while you’re in college or you go all-in and pursue a full-time dance teaching lifestyle, we’re behind you!