Monday, October 28, 2013


miss sarah wins the ballerina princess crown

One of the awesome things about
the baby ballet classes that I teach is that my 
teaching assistant is one of my best friends.

I've known the lovely Sarah since I was 12 years old,
and getting to hang around with her in the studio 
is great fun.

Sometimes we just laugh and laugh and the kids look at us like we are loonies.
We also know the words to nearly every disney song,
(plus a few obscure ones that we taught ourselves from the disney sing a longs 
back in the day of our teenage years...
oh yes no wild parties for me, a fun friday night
meant sing a long time)

What is it with kids now a days that they dont know the old classic disney
I had about 1 student who knew Dumbo, and about 3 who knew Winnie the Pooh.

She's also been assisting for baby ballet
a lot longer than i've been teaching it,
so is a fountain of knowledge on little tricks to 
get the kids to do things 
that make me just stop and scratch my head...

who would have thought that invisible sparkly glitter
goo would be so useful at getting children to stand still! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Fun Teacher....

I always pegged myself as the 'fun teacher'.
I thought, I'm going to be the teacher
that all the students love,
I'm going to be so much fun.

Turns out i'm not....
I had a few comments over the last week that 
perhaps I could be a little bit nicer....
a little bit more fun.

And i went and watched another teachers class 
for inspiration,
and she was definitely the, 'fun teacher'
and I realised that i'll never be the fun teacher 
as I want a little bit more than my
ballet classes to be just fun.

I want my students to have really learned something each class,
I want them to not only learn to dance and have fun doing so
but to learn that ballet is hard work and disciplined,
that when you go and watch those
performances in the theatre you dont just think to yourself,
'oh that was pretty'
you think dancing takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

So i think that i'll shoot for the 'Firm but Fun' teacher.

and to be honest the teachers that i look back and respect
the most werent always the nicest.
Some of the down right scared me.

This journey of finding out who I am as a teacher
is going to be a long and winding road....

Friday, October 11, 2013

Little people.....

Sometimes I don't think I realise just what a difference 
I have on these little girls who come into my studio 
with hopes and dreams and expectations.

I don't know what they want from my time.
 I don't know what they think of me.
The other day i had a little girl very confused as she
couldnt figure out where i slept as i 
didnt have a bed,
turned out she thought i lived in the studio.

Last night I came home and I couldn't sleep thinking about 
a little 6 year old girl in one of my classes who I don't think I treated in the best way I could. 
She's distracted in the class and always looks for 
excuses to get out of doing the steps,
 mainly  because I don't think she connects with the way that I teach. 

So this week I got really stern with her and no patience for every story 
that had nothing to do with anything or made up problem that she had
And I think to myself, this little girl isn't connecting with me 
but instead if trying to build a bridge I disconnected her further.

Today I had another little distracted little girl in my class. 
She can't stay still, she can't listen, she's always on the go, 
it's tricky because I try and teach them the 
importance of silence and stillness in ballet as much as movement.

My assistant today was on top of her trying to gain 
her attention and keeping up on her every
 lapse of concentration, 
and I told her. 'Let's just leave her alone today, as long as 
she isn't disturbing the others let her be distracted in her own little world'

And at the end of the class the little girl came and
 gave me the biggest hug and told me she loved me, 
and I'll admit I was shocked it came out of the blue. 
This little girl who makes my time so difficult actually 
enjoys being in the studio, 
she even appreciates me as a teacher 
(that week) 
and i dont know what i did in particular to make her feel 
such gratitude today.

These little children teach me something 
new every time I see them, 
and I think of the ballet teachers that I had at their age 
and what knowledgable people they seemed to me

and although they didnt alter my life in 
a life changing way,
they did make me the person i am today.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Being the teacher....

Some times i come out of the classroom and i'm
sitting on the tube on the way home and i realise
all the things i could have done to make the class better.

Mainly its when i forget to tell them how well they have
done at working hard.
I get so focussed on the corrections and
how to make them better that
i dont take the time to commend their efforts and improvement.

and i dont want to be the kind of teacher that
never pulls a student up and always breaks them down.

Sometimes i realise that i've given some students way more
attention than others,
and after i've left i think to myself how did 'such and such'
do in class today and i realise that i dont know as
i didnt give her enough attention.

i wonder how that makes the students feel,
they probably think its because i dont like them, 
and not simply my inadequacies as a teacher,
not quite always getting the balance right just yet.

Still in London.....

i realised that i havent written about why i'm still in London even though my ballet teaching course is over.
its because i'm onto course number 2, which will run for the next 9 months.
so husband is still away sailing at sea and i'm still mining my way through the streets of London.

i'm doing my Pilates teachers course.
I looked into a lot of Pilates Teacher training courses, there are so many of them out there.

I've always enjoyed Pilates, 
i used to go to a class once a week when i was between the ages of 15-18 
in Edinburgh. My mum sent me when she heard it was good for ballet.
It was,
it changed the way that i thought about movement
and it progressed me as a dancer in so many ways.

that was 10 years ago,
i havent really done much pilates since other
than occasionally doing the few exercises that i could remember.
in fact i've really struggled to find a Pilates teacher who taught in a way that inspired me in
the way that my old teacher did.
Theres a lot of things called 'Pilates' out there that really aren't.

but for years i've been saying that when i stopped dancing i wanted
 to take up Pilates
more and think about teaching it.

So i am.

I picked a course here in London 
by the guy who trained my Pilates teacher all those years ago,
His name is Alan Herdman and he was the first person to bring Pilates to the UK.

So far the course has been everything that i've wanted.
i'm learning so much and the dynamics of the 
course suit me to a T.

Its great, i have the excuse to spend all my spare time in
the Pilates studio practising!